March 6 – Is it DONE Yet?

cheetah_mar6Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) Tip of the Day

March 6 – Completion may mean something different to you than it does to others. Find out what finishing looks like to those who are working with you on a project.


Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP

Are we ever really finished? I have been involved in so many construction and remodel projects where you are never really “done” until you sell the place to someone else. This is why I like event-oriented projects, as once the date of the event comes and goes (like a party), you’re DONE. What I’ve found time and time again is what is that “done’ to one person may not be “done’ to another. It is usually the person doing the work who declares completion before the person for whom the work is being done. Not having consensus on what “done” means can and does create significant conflict on projects. So it makes sense to spend some time developing consensus on what “done” means BEFORE you even start. This is the purpose of contracts – to get it in writing what completion will look like to all parties. Whenever anyone says, “I do business with a handshake,” I RUN fast in the opposite direction. So often in the development of the contract, you realize what you considered done and what the other party considers done are miles apart. And if you had relied on a hand shake regarding each of your unique definitions of “done,” both of you can suffer significant heart ache.

I am very clear on what completion looks like to me on projects I start as a way to keep my sanity. I find the better I can articulate what finishing looks like to me, the more likely it is I will actually finish what it is I start. Just today, I finished a project I have been planning for several weeks. I moved a large hyperbaric chamber from Portland, Oregon to Reno, Nevada. Moving it required reassembling it when I got to Reno and making sure it still worked. It wasn’t sufficient that I got it out of Portland – what mattered was that it was useable when it got to Reno. Yes, I was tired when I got here, as moving it out of the Portland location was a lot of work. But it was important to me I finished. Finishing meant that I knew the chamber was set up and working in its new location. I made this priority number one this week.

What is your most important project this week? How can you make sure you finish it so you can reap the benefits?

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