Friday, September 14, 2007

Milestone creep

Technologists like to invent terms that are self-supporting, "scope creep" is a good example as it paints the business owner in a negative light compared to the technology team. (Scope creep means additional requirements for a system beyond what was originally agreed to). Interestingly, consulting companies don't have scope creep, they have "change requests", with dollars attached.

But what about "Milestone creep" (my own invented term)? My definition is simply that milestones get moved out, usually by the technology team. The milestone is not missed, per say, just moved. Many things cause milestones to be missed, including discovery of unknown issues, dependencies, risks, or bugs. (And for those of you thinking it, scope creep can impact milestones :-).

I've noticed that milestones are often missed due to responsiveness and flexibility, something that many technology organizations pride themselves on. You take on new requests and modifications at the drop of a hat, and the team gets sidetracked from the projects at hand.

Ironically, the CIOs who I've experience as the least cooperative, least helpful and least collaborative are the ones that typically hit their milestones. But at what cost?

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