Tip of The Week: Start your Project on the Right Foot… Do NOT start with an End Date!
Of all the project pain points that can be experienced, starting with an End Date before scoping and properly estimating, can arguably be ranked number 1. This scenario often happens in order to get project funding approval on an “if only it can be accomplished by “X” date”. There may be solid reasoning for placing the end date first on the schedule, such as a government mandate, but this does not make it an acceptable practice for all projects.
Backing into the date can create project toxicity from the start and increases project risk exponentially. Although it may be intimidating, if you determine that the project cannot be completed by the imposed End Date it needs to be communicated with supporting documentation as early as possible and also recorded on your project’s plan and risk register.
You may also provide alternatives to meet the date, such as a phased project approach. Deliver a manageable portion of the project by the proposed End Date, with subsequent phase following until full project scope is met.