Don’t Let Eddie Derail Your Project

This is a post about the importance of having the right people involved on your project from Day 1.

The project consisted of an Enterprise deployment of an existing application. This application was already in Production and the project was just an update of some of the features. Product Management and Development Engineers had a pretty good sense of what this application looked like and they moved forward to development. They worked on it for a couple of months and when it came to implementation, a fellow named Eddie stopped it dead in its tracks!

Eddie was the end-user. Eddie was the Subject Matter Expert.  Eddie had a direct line to upper management! Eddie said the application missed the mark. It didn’t meet the requirements and couldn’t support the reality of the business.

The “miss” wasn’t a big one, but it opened suspicion about what else could be wrong with the application. This caused delay in the implementation for months with microscopic scrutiny every stop along the way.

Could this have been prevented? The following three suggestions may have helped:

  1. Make sure Eddie is involved from Day 1: Request his input and have conversations with him. Share your plans with Eddie, whether it’s Product Management, Engineering, or Project Management. Make sure that he is aware of what is going on as it relates to impact on his business.
  2. Don’t assume Engineers or Developers have all the answers: Team members who are working on the application behind their desk have a very different view of the world from Eddie. In this particular instance, the desk that Eddie is standing behind has a customer standing in front of it!
  3. Maintain YOUR relationships with upper management: You can preempt or prevent unnecessary scrutiny if you have the facts and a clear channel to upper management. This will help you provide an objective, balanced viewpoint to Eddie’s concerns so the application can continue to move forward.

The above three things are ways you can prevent Eddie from derailing your project. What are some of the things you do to keep your projects on track?

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