Simple techniques for complex projects


Warm up the machines that take a long time first.

Stress test the go/no go parts of the project as early as possible.

If the cost is low, replace dependent processes with parallel ones.

Do the difficult parts when energy is high and the budget hasn’t been depleted.

Ship before you run out of time or money.

Invest in slack buffers for any critical dependent components.

Budgets are a tool, not a weapon.

Thrash early, then lock down decisions and don’t change them.

Assign each task to the least expensive/least busy people able to get the job done. (This is probably not the project manager).

Prioritize feedback from people with taste, skill and influence, not proximity or volume.

Identify go/no go points based on irreversible actions or unrecoverable costs.

Anticipate the difficult and high-risk moments in advance and reserve resources for the ones you can’t anticipate.

Heroism is more fun but less reliable than good planning.


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