Watching any TV show or movie, you would think that tasks get accomplished at magical speeds. On the show “NCIS“, Gibbs barks orders and Abby runs thousands of complicated chemical tests before the team finishes at the crime scene. Or, the police officers on the show “Blue Bloods” canvas the neighborhood and talk to every person within a couple of hours of the crime. The team on “Castle” can produce a complete financial history and post it on their whiteboard within minutes of identifying the suspect.
Now that you know my favorite TV shows – what is the point? That’s not real life.
- It takes hours of focused attention to pull the exact data needed from the database to produce a graph that communicates clearly
- It takes twice as many meetings and conversations than you think to produce agreement and alignment with other people
- It takes weeks to locate, manufacture, and ship the parts you need for that prototype
- It takes months to train a new employee
- It takes years of personal investment to develop leaders
The CSI Effect has affected the courtroom in a similar manner. Jurors now carry unrealistic expectations of forensic evidence. This raises the standard of proof for prosecutors and makes it much more difficult to convict criminals in today’s court systems.
It is good to set a high bar of expectation in your project and strive for excellence. However, be alert not to create a project plan that has “Task A” followed by “Task B” followed by “Then a miracle happens” and “POOF, we hit our date”.
Thanks for listening.