Friday, February 09, 2007


The biggest myth in Project Management...

If I could ask the folks in Microsoft to do me one favor, it would be to eliminate the percent complete display of a task as it is a ridiculous metric...

Tasks have only three states: not started, started but not finished and finished. Period. Why can't enterprise architects make this form of stupidity go away that the notion of a task is 74.2% complete? It is reasonable to ask for an estimate of the remaining (uninterrupted) time to complete a task. Likewise, if your boss compells you to publish metrics then why not do something with more integrity such as percentage of use cases that pass acceptance tests?

The myth is that the amount of work remaining can be determined by a simple calculation of the total work minus the work done. However, it's often the case that after working for 10 days, you may predict you will take 10 more days, but in fact you may have done much less or much more than half the total work required. Those 25 use cases are unlikely to all require exactly the same effort, so it's a myth to believe that the time taken to complete 10 use cases to acceptance tests is 40% of the total time it will take to complete all 25. The 40% is a mathematical fiction.

I guess we should all walk around drinking our own urine so that we can encourage folks to state that they are 90% complete which happens to be the most chosen random number for percent complete. I bet if you look at some of the projects within your organization, it wouldn't be too difficult to find it..

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