Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dealing with student syndrome

Student syndrome refers to the phenomenon that many people will start to fully apply themselves to a task just at the last possible moment before a deadline. This leads to wasting any buffers built into individual task duration estimates.
Parkinson’s Law … “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”

Our Projects do suffer from student syndrome, whatever we estimate the actual time tend to be more than the estimated one. Here I am sharing my view on dealing with student syndrome in project environment.

Setting of short term deadlines, short term deadlines or intermediate milestones provides effectively feedback about the project progress; these deadlines should be reviewed on regular basic, the duration depends upon the nature and stage of the project but we should not end up in micromanagement. Team congruence on short term targets is quite essential, it can be build by involving team in setting up short term deadlines.

Share the big picture, along with the short term targets, team should also be clear about the ultimate goal of the project and should be able to see path to it by meeting short term deadlines
Measure productivity, we should have model for measuring team’s productivity; once we start measuring it we can also improve it. This will put check on “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”

I kept reminding my team and myself "The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war."

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