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 Project Celebration  Project Celebration   Background   Background

Introduction   »   Start   »   Celebration Announcement


Tell the team you are planning a project delivery celebration. You want to create a memorable shockwave. They will not have discussed this before, certainly not so early in the project.

There will be some surprise and there will be some doubters. In our experience, these are the people who enjoy the project delivery celebration the most. They did not expect it to come in on time. They did not expect you to deliver.

When you do deliver and the business is satisfied, they will be amongst the many that shake their heads in disbelief at what they as a group, with you in charge, have just achieved.

They are right to congratulate themselves for a job well done. They deserve it too. Find out what sort of celebration is fit for purpose for your team and for your budget. Ask them and organise it.

What you choose for a celebration is, of course, up to you. Maybe, a day out at a kart racing circuit, a restaurant, nightclub or whatever you believe is the most suitable for your group. The budget for this particular activity will naturally determine what type of gathering you may plan.

But remember, this is a special occasion. By the time you come to your project delivery celebration, your team will feel like they have just done something very different and achieved something that they have not achieved before.

Make this special not only for the people who will attend but also the people who do not. They may be attracted to take part in one of your subsequent projects by the fabulous feedback from the celebration.

Now, you have agreed where you are going and what you are doing for a celebration, you will tell people. Tell all the attendees, of course. But, now this is important, you will make sure that many more people are informed. Before your project has even started properly, you are going to tell the world (other project managers, programme managers, senior admin people and others of senior management) that you are booking your project delivery celebration.

Naturally, they will be surprised. This is the reaction you want. Remember, we are about to do something very different indeed. It will feel different to the people involved directly on the project. The people on the outside are more than likely unaware of the special activity, on the project. So, it will help you if they are all aware this is a very different project too. An e-mail booking a project delivery celebration before the project has even begun will create the sort of atmosphere you need. So, be brave and get ready to send the e-mail. In making this remarkable, enlightening and very different statement you have set the tone for what is going to be a remarkable, enlightening and very different project indeed.

Right, we choose a date. This is very important. Note that we have not called it a project going-live celebration. We have called this a project delivery celebration.

We celebrate the end of the delivery. So you have to confirm: what is the date when the delivery ends. If you do not know it yet, do not book the project delivery celebration until you actually know the end date. The effect will be the same if you learn the end date and send out the email a little later.

You may decide to set the end date as the end of the development, the end of the warranty, the end of the first month of live operation, the arrival of the first promised benefits, the final arrival of all promised benefits or some other end point. This is invariably subjective and has to be dependent on your organisation and what constitutes a success for your project. Some debate with your project sponsors is certainly worthy beforehand. Of course, by the time you book your celebration, you know the extent of work to deliver your business change request.

It will be a surprise to see a team brashly and confidently book a project delivery celebration so early in the life of a project. If you know the date when you have planned to end your project, let us have a look at the dates we are going to announce and the significance of the working week when we plan to end your project and plan our celebration date.


In the US, UK, Europe and a large portion of the world the working week is Monday through Friday. These parts of the world have a Saturday to Sunday Weekend. Friday is the last day before the weekend and Monday is the first day back after the weekend. In many parts of the world, of course, this is not the case. In these instances, you need to bear in mind that multi-country or offshore projects may operate in countries with different working week profiles. Some countries adopt a Thursday to Friday Weekend or a Friday to Saturday Weekend, sometimes a Friday Only weekend. Bear this in mind when planning the celebration, so that you do not automatically negate certain contributors from attending.

Whatever the location however, almost universally, projects are planned to complete and deliver on the final day of the working week with live implementation on the first day back to work after the weekend. In the example of the US therefore this is a Friday delivery with live running on Monday morning. This has always been the case because years and years of project managers have learned that they often like to use (nine times out of 10, have to use) the weekend to fix the final things that went wrong between delivery and live running.

Project team members, though, get used to the concept of this safety net. Seasoned project professionals get accustomed to a final rush of clearing up activity in the final hours of the final working day. Invariably, this is left to the final hours of the final day of the weekend to sort out. This experience can cause project personnel to focus less on the quality of their own deliverables in normal project time with the anticipation that the weekend will come to their aid. This opportunity will let their mind wander to the possibility of lucrative weekend overtime payments and that attractive financial bonus provides no impetus to deliver in normal time.

You do not need to worry about these sorts of concerns. This is another behaviour you will overcome. You will be using your weekends to relax and enjoy life.

So, let us start this change of behaviour. Please choose a day to end your project and for a celebration. Let us use the working week profile in the US and ask you not to pick a Friday as the weekend starts at 5pm on Friday. Please remember that nobody likes Mondays. There are songs that already deal with this phenomenon. By a process of deduction, you are able to choose from one of three days Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Let us say, for example, Wednesday. Let us say, for example, we are delivering in March and Wednesday is 17th. You have chosen Wednesday 17th of March as the date your project will end. Now remember, we deliver this project with style. So, let us choose a time. Oh yes. We will not only specify exactly which day we will deliver, we will specify exactly what time we will deliver, too.

9 AM or 10 AM is an impractical time to end your project as nobody has had chance to do anything on the final day. Remember, things like printers always fail us on the final days of projects. Therefore, it is best to leave an hour or so over the lunchtime to sort out the last small final technical glitches. After delivering this project, you deserve to leave early or at the very least on time, so let us not choose an end time of 4 PM, 5 PM or 6 PM. However, 3:30 PM in the afternoon is fine. So, it is agreed. Our project is going to end at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, 17 March.

This statement carries a very important message: Delivering on time, means precisely and unambiguously on time. You will have no further project activity whatsoever after 3:30 PM Wednesday 17th of March, other than the project delivery celebration. If your celebration is planned to start after work, arrange for everyone to get together at 5 PM on Wednesday, 17 March. If your celebration is a full day, then arrange your celebration attendees to get together on Thursday, 18 March. Do not forget to give them a start time for the celebration. That is important too.

So, you have an important part of your project completed already. You have arranged your project delivery celebration and communicated this to a significant project audience, before you even started. But, in reality, you have done something much more important than that. You have set down a marker. The marker is your project end date and by booking the project delivery celebration, you have demonstrated your confidence and ability as the best leader to steer all project resources towards achieving a successful conclusion precisely on this specific project end date. You will do this by following the guidelines in the Toolkit and by making sure all project team members have that marker and that end date in their mind and in their sights, at all times. Once this date is agreed and communicated, print it out and put it up on the wall. There are many ways to communicate the delivery date and we go through these later in the Toolkit. For now you need a constant reminder. You and your project need some means of communication of this important immovable date that almost hits you on the head as you walk into the room each day.

The project team members and the recipients of the e-mail announcing the project delivery celebration will, of course, have a number of different reactions and conclusions. Above all, they will be surprised and sceptical but they will always either accept or reject the bravery of this action. It is difficult to doubt the sincerity and evident capability of someone who sends an e-mail announcing a project delivery celebration before the project has started. There may be people who think you are mad. Very soon we will see who is mad and who is not. For now, have faith in your ability to deliver using this Toolkit, make certain the celebration is booked and communicated to everyone and we can get started and make your project deliver exactly as you have just announced.

Right, let us get underway. You have set out the most important part of your project and set the tone for a very different and successful experience. Now let us investigate the Background to The Big Agile Toolkit.

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Celebration Announcement






   


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