Consequences of Over-Promising or Over-Delivering and the Right Process

At the end of the project if you deliver less than what was expected then you are pretty much on the path of risking your reputation. If you deliver more than the expected you are a hero. Many a times, especially with new managers taking new responsibilities and authority, more features are delivered by intention than what was asked for originally in spite of falling behind budget and added constraint on resources. It stretches and burns out the project team by making them work overtime and causing a higher stress level, all because of the manager’s commitment and desire on providing extra features that was never asked or intended in the first place.

This is a detrimental approach due to the fact that there could be business reasons why certain features are shut out on purpose or maybe the features are being held back for next release, maybe their systems are already maxed out on resource usage and cannot accommodate any extra functionality which hasn’t been scoped for. This is commonly known as “gold plating” in project management world and advises to clearly stay out of this practice.

The habit of delivering extra value or features also skews the project baselines for any future projects since the client/business users will perceive receiving extra features as an expected act in spite of being not accounted in the project scope or budget.  Gold platting eventually also leads to feature request by the customer in an ongoing project along with more changes over time. The nature of most businesses is that they change; the direction and strategic goals of an organization or a company changes quarterly or on yearly basis thereby potentially affecting any current & on-going implementations. Any added features or changes requested without invoking change management most certainly leads to a point of failure.  This is due to the fact that added features means more resource effort hours which translates into higher than assessed budget.

An example of correct procedure to follow during any change request is to assess the impact of this change, get authorization and approvals from appropriate authorities, change the scope, time and cost baselines to accommodate the changes, invoke change management and get approvals, change the project schedule and timelines, send clear communications on new dates and milestones and implement the changes.

Now there are times when a development team is working closely with the business user/base and they form a certain level of relationship where the developers are obliged to incorporate constant changes as requested by the client. Managers should be firm in controlling the scope and making sure proper procedures are followed and right parties/team members are involved in an open discussion while making clear its added impact on the ongoing work.

The practice of delivering extra without invoking proper protocols and process will cause more damage to your reputation and impact team morale due to over utilization. So the next time you think of a brilliant idea that will, in your eyes, add value to the business/project, go ahead with discussions by involving stake holders, program managers or client or committee who are in position and authorized to approve any changes and let the proper process take care of the rest!