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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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14.2. Taking safe action

During mid-game, most actions are smaller, tighter versions of PM activity done during planning or design. If a requirement was missed and needs to be incorporated, the process for defining and documenting it is just a double-time version of what was done during the requirements process (understand needs, consider tradeoffs, define, and prioritize). Or if something was overlooked in the spec, the process for resolving it is a double- or triple-time repeat of the specification process. Few new skills are employed during mid-game. It's usually just a leaner and faster version of a skill that was used earlier on. The problem is that working at speed breeds risk. Taking safe action during mid-game simply means that the integrity of the project is not unintentionally disrupted as a result of the action.

Safe action is difficult because the ammunition is live in mid-game. Things are already in motion and many decisions have already been made, which may conflict with any new action. For example, if halfway through the construction of your house you decide to change the plan from a standard A-frame to a geodesic dome, you will have to throw away lots of materials and effort, and possibly require new work to be done under greater pressure. It takes experience to learn how changing a requirement, cutting a feature, or modifying a design will affect both the code base and the team.

The goal of any PM must be to take safe action. She needs to move and behave in ways ...

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