“This project is a priority, and it has to be completed in the next two weeks – no questions asked!”

How many times do you hear your boss or a client make a strong statement about it being imperative to speed up a new project?

Or how many times do you hear yourself talk about the need to speed up?

Saying You Want Something FAST Won’t Make It So

For all the desire to have projects or work processes move REALLY FAST, it seems, especially in larger organizations, cultural forces work against projects moving FAST despite what project stakeholders expect.

The reason is a desire for FAST doesn’t mean anybody wants the related project management implications:

  • Rearranging what’s important
  • Saying what you’re going to do
  • Doing what you say
  • Working from a strong to-do list
  • Giving more effort
  • Focusing attention
  • Not depending on people who’ve never been dependable
  • Motivating /encouraging /cajoling / bribing people who have been dependable before to do even more
  • Anticipating project management roadblocks
  • Addressing potential project management roadblocks before they’re reached
  • Spending money wisely to eliminate other roadblocks
  • Sharing vital information that allows people to act
  • Being responsive
  • Making decisions to not pursue every possible idea
  • Handling trade-offs
  • Acting instead of delaying
  • Hitting deadlines
  • Speaking now or forever holding your peace
  • Ignoring “nice to have” opinions but getting all the “must have” opinions
  • Getting out of the way when you’re not critical
  • Caring more or caring less – whichever moves things along

FAST is easy to say. Its project management implications are hard (sometimes apparently impossible) to stomach inside an organization.

Doing Something About It

When you demand FAST, pave the way for your team to actually deliver it. If you’re on the team, manage your personal performance so you’re not a barrier to FAST.

Because when FAST isn’t happening, there’s always somebody (or some bodies) who refused to sign up for the project management implications.  – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help enhance your marketing strategy and implementation efforts.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6 Responses to “Twenty-One Project Management Implications of Wanting Things FAST”

  1. Cheri Tabel says:

    It is the age old argument: do you want it fast or do you want it right? Nice post, Mike, on how you can achieve both IF you make sure to think through the implications.

  2. Don’t forget the cost factor.  You have to chose 2 of the 3… fast, right or inexpensive.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s interesting Judy and Cheri that you both brought up the cost-speed-quality trade-off. In many situations prompting this post, we haven’t even gotten to that equation. It’s simply been a rousing demand for speed from senior levels and then an inability elsewhere in the organization to be able to perform the tasks which allow speed to happen. 

    Living inside a big corporation for a long time, I saw (and was certainly part of, at times) the same phenomenon. Part of it is getting burned too often by “hurry up and wait” scenarios on seemingly important projects. It teaches people to not believe the “hurry up cry” has any basis in reality.

  4. Jim Joseph says:

    My father always said:  you have have it fast or cheap, but not both.  Great post!  Jim


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