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Camp Two: "We cannot over-commit and succeed"

The members of Camp Two believe that if they overcommit, they risk building a reputation of being late on deliveries and a provider of poor quality solutions, resulting in lost sales. Customer satisfaction is cited as the motive for the focus on planning and making achievable (but not necessarily easy) commitments.

There are beliefs that distinguish Camp One from Camp Two. These are typically not the first choice of Camp One because they appear to be exactly the opposite of what should be done to "win business." (And this is the distinction between the two camps; Camp Two does not think like Camp One).

Camp Two techniques for managing commitments have been used since the beginning of time, but unless they are tried, it is easy for them to be labeled as luxurious and theoretical. When experienced, and their implementation refined, they can be believed. (Note, if you are already in Camp Two, these practices will appear obvious and intuitive!)

Camp Two believes that it must routinely:

  • Clarify when a commitment is required, rather than assume that a commitment is required immediately.

  • Request time to plan so that proposals and commitments can be sound, or explain that quick commitments are just that, "quick commitments."

  • Commit to the pieces of the project that are known and that can be estimated. It establishes subsequent deadlines when the remaining pieces can be defined and committed to.

  • Make the first prediction a range of effort and deadline estimates and establish a date for the final commitment.

  • Assess risk and team resource availability prior to making commitments.

  • Explain the risks of the current project scope and deadline and recommend mitigation actions.

  • Provide options for various schedule, scope, quality and cost trade-offs. (Each option is achievable with associated risks.)

  • Make plans and estimates comprehensive so that they can be believed and sold. Plans and estimates show customers and managers how their needs are being addressed, rather than presenting one option that is believed to be what the recipient wants to hear.

  • Examine the critical path of the schedule (longest calendar path) and resource assignments on that path.

  • Determine sections of the project that should be contracted out to save time or money.

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