A wise person I work with made this profound statement today.

You can release on time and still fail

There’s a notion out there that project managers only care about making the schedule.  While it’s easy to get fixated on it, the more I work on product releases the less I find myself caring about “the schedule.”

This doesn’t mean it’s not important to meet the dates we’ve committed to. If a release is off track, I’m more interested in constructing a realistic schedule everyone has confidence meeting versus whipping everyone into a frenzy to meet a date simply because it’s published on a schedule.

Sometimes I find that the project team loses sight of who the schedule is for. When things are going well on one of my product teams, an anonymous colleague likes to say “This should make John Poelstra happy!” or “Look we’re meeting Poelstra’s schedule.”  And yet, while this person enjoys pulling my chain it really misses the point to call the schedule mine.

The schedule isn’t mine simply because I’m the project manager.  No, the schedule belongs to the entire release team. It’s the release team’s schedule, not the project manager’s.

If you have to re-evaluate or make adjustments to the schedule, make sure it makes sense to the entire team. Have you factored in all of the important aspects of the release?

  • Quality at sufficient levels
  • Features complete enough to meet goals of the release
  • Documentation complete enough to meet objectives
  • Marketing is able to promote its

What do you think of my ideas here?  If you object, I’d love to hear from you.


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