When postpone will be replaced by BREXIT

In the league of the things NOT to do in project management, we have regularly mentioned that starting a project without a plan is particularly dangerous.

The British situation about Brexit is giving us another phenomenon about project management mistakes.

Let’s assume that sub-contracting a process, is a “small” challenge with few intercultural moment and big systemic impacts… Especially when 27 others are interconnected to it.

Also, let’s assume that we a have a project plan, full of promises (more or less achievable) but globally, we can make it.

The main problem of a tradeoff, where everybody want to win, is that you can apply different strategies. One of the famous one is to wait the last moment to push the negotiation… And force it to your opponent.

In project management, wait the last moment to do something is called the student syndrome. It is usually a task which has duration highly inferior to the time given.

Consequently this duration has a lot of time buffer in it.

In the student syndrome, the student will wait the last moment to start his job and consume the buffer before he starts.

Our new-ex-(new ?) European partners are in purely in this case.

Postpone the date without ensuring that they will do something different in this new given period.

This Brexit project is giving us also another example of project management practices : The date management.

At the beginning of the project, the date is frozen. Then, due to some events, the team does not believe anymore in the plan. And wait for the 1st end date to claim for a new delivery date. (1st rescheduling appeared in October 2018 to March 2019).

Then, when the new delivery date because unachievable again and it will not be very serious to ask for a new date again, we start to postpone the project about 2 weeks every week.

So dates are moving slowly but surely until the point of no return where we need to negotiate again.

To come back, with our student, when the teacher gives him a new date to do his homework, what will he do ?

I think he will now Brexit it…