The «Oh, by the way…» Danger

The project plan is approved. The budget is in place. Deliverables of phase 1, 2 and 3 are defined. Developers started working. The business analyst Romeo analyzes the business and meet with end users on daily basis. The Project manager, Lord Montague, manages the project. Life “s good.

Juliet, the end user really likes how the future application is shaping up.

Two months later hellip;

Juliet, “Romeo, you guys are doing a wonderful job ndash; I love this new version of the app! rdquo;

Romeo, “Juliet, your wish is my order! rdquo; 
Juliet, “Oh, by the way, Romeo, can you ask the servants to add one extra combobox to the search screen? And one more little thingy here is missing and just one checkbox there. rdquo;

Romeo loves Juliet understanding that she pays his bills. He goes to Lord Montague and asks him to include these little changes to the project plan.

Now let me ask you a question. What “s the difference between good and bad girls? Good girls do the same things as the bad ones, but they do them well. The same applies to project managers.

This is the crucial point in the life of any project. The manager has to have balls to say No to Julia, otherwise his servants will be Le Miserable till the end of the project. Trust me, after the first “Oh, by the way hellip; rdquo; comes the second, then the third hellip;

Good project manager should absorb all outside requests, process and prioritize them to ensure that his/her developers don “t work in a firefighting mode. What “s the right answer to the very first “Oh, by the way hellip; rdquo;? I “d try this politically correct one:

 “Juliet, you know how Romeo and I love you! We “ll be glad to accommodate your request, but you need to make a choice and let us know about your decision:

1.We “ll add the combo as soon as possible, that little thingy, and one checkbox as you request, but I “ll have to change the project plan to postpone other deliverables.

2. We “ll continue working on the approved project plan items, but will add the combo, that little thingy, and one checkbox in phase 4 of the project.

3. We “ll hire another servant to work on the combo, that little thingy, one checkbox, and all future ad hoc request that you may have. 

We work in agile mode, and completely understand that requirements can change all the time, so let “s be flexible with the deadlines too. rdquo;

Yeah, yeah, yeah hellip; Sometimes it “s not easy to pull it off. You gotta be strong! Let me remind you the words from the Project Manager “s Ballad by Des “ree:

Listen as your day unfolds

Challenge what the future holds

Try and keep your head up to the sky

Lovers, they may cause you tears

Go ahead release your fears 

Stand up and be counted 

Don ‘t be ashamed to cry

You gotta be 
You gotta be bad,

you gotta be bold 

You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard

You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger 

You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm 

You gotta stay together 

All I know, all I know, love will save the day 


It won “t be easy to convince Juliet that an agile mode doesn “t mean anarchy, but these days it “s not easy to find good servants too. Slowly but surely, they “ll quit and start working for the Capulet family.

Oh, by the way, Juliet, can you approve the updated project schedule?


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