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10 Keys to Completion
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10 keys to Completion
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Key #1
Do it right the first time.
This is the best advice I know for successfully completing projects on time and within budget.

Key #2
You save money by performing the definition and testing phases correctly.
The two most common and expensive places where computer projects break down are:
a) the definition phase (detail work is not done, resulting in bad definition)
b) the testing phase (inadequate time scheduled to fix problems identified by testing.)

You usually find incomplete definition and inadequate testing time in the same project. The later a problem is identified, the more costly it is to fix. The cost of an incomplete system is the same regardless of where it occurred in the development lifecycle. 

A goal without a deadline
is a dream.

Key #3
Stop reorganizing and start reconsidering.
An unplanned reorganization is a good indicator that your project may not get completed. If your project team has had one or more unplanned reshuffling of the same staff, bringing in someone from the outside to guide the project may provide a fresh perspective to get the project completed.

Key #4
Work with people you trust.
Some of the brightest technical people I know have never completed a project. I use their help on very task-oriented items. When I want to complete a project, I go back to the people who have a history of completion, even if they do not have an exact technology match. I can count on them to gain necessary technical skills.

Key #5
Define who the real user is and communicate, communicate, communicate.
The project is not done until the user says it is. If the users are not happy using the system, they will not use it.

Key #6
Methodologies are replaceable, leadership is not.
My favorite project development methodologies will have the following: architecture (what you are doing), design (how you are doing it), execution (doing it), and evaluation (what we did right and how can we do better next time). The way leadership implements any given methodology defines whether you will complete a project or not. Is the leadership able to get the best out of the project team? Are they focused on serving the customer? Do they have the integrity that inspires people to work together as a team?

Key #7
Communicate clearly up front what it takes to be a team member.
Reinforce by your words and actions. With any project that has more than one person involved, people need to know how to act in order to complete the project.

Key #8
Define roles and responsibilities up front, then focus on results after that.
Spending effort on who is responsible encourages finger-pointing, and does not lead to completion. Focus on making  the group understand that if the project is not complete, everyone fails.

Key #9
Implement written weekly status reporting-no matter what the size of the project.
Putting things in writing is the best way to understand what is done and what is not. As a minimum, everyone on the team should report what they accomplished, what they plan to accomplish, and where they might need additional help.

Key #10
If you are the project leader-see everyone on the team once every week or two weeks.
Say something nice to them. If you make their job easier, they will make your job easier. Say "Good Job!" and "Thank you" often.
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