Striving for perfection in project implementations

One of Merriam-Webster definitions for perfection is “something that cannot be improved.” For me, project management, software development and data analytics are always evolving. Every new project I take on is balanced on the learnings of all the prior projects I managed. This is true for software projects, and is true in data analytics. For every  question I answer, I can think of several more that I’d like to tackle.

the Idea of perfection is so imperfect.


Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for project stakeholders to say that you can’t roll something out, or even go into a pilot phase until everything is perfect. It is at these times, that project managers need to take a step back and analyze the project from the people and motivations perspective. The project stakeholders are saying that they are uncomfortable with where the project is and are not willing to put themselves on the line just yet.

How did you get here? 

This problem generally arises when expectations are not aligned. If each side hasn’t clearly documented and shared what they were working towards, there is no guarantee of all sides working towards the same end goal. It is not enough to have documented requirements, or use cases. You also need to agree on the measurement or evaluation criteria.

How then do you move forward? 

  • First, both sides need to communicate.
  • Second, both sides need to jointly agree on a core set of success criteria for each milestone and phase.
  • Third, both sides need to remind themselves that everyone is working towards the same goal.

There will always be requirements that continue to evolve for every software or data integration project. It is making sure the project implementation team is working towards the same success criteria at the same time as the project stakeholders.