Do you know a leader who says yes to everything? Their team just finished a significant and stressful month to get an “urgent” marketing experience out the door and the leader agreed to deliver something else urgent on a compressed timeline. Where was the boundary between the finish and start of the next project. It never materialized. Take a more concrete example. Do you ever block time off on your calendar to get work done and people just schedule right over that without any care or thought? Is it ok to get a meeting scheduled for the same day? As leaders, we have a responsibility to set boundaries to protect our team and as employees we have a responsibility to protect ourselves.
The death march towards the release date has begun. The email just went out to ask for “volunteers” to put in a few extra hours this weekend to complete a couple rounds of testing before sending it over the wall for user testing. The project manager is trying to herd cats to get a complete status before the leadership team goes on “holiday”. The developers are questioning why leadership isn’t going to be in on the weekend and what does volunteer mean anyways. It will be frowned upon if they don’t show up.
Unfortunately, this story is one that I have seen replayed constantly. Only the names of the people involved change. Reason is thrown out the window for most projects when there is a fixed release date. Pizza sales and coffee intake increase. Dissatisfaction rises within the team leaving many scarred for a long time. When the software ships, it is at a significantly poorer quality.
For most projects it doesn’t have to be this way.