Podcast: Rescuing a Project in Progress – Rework Podcast

Aug 2, 2023
Knowing when you’re in over your head and recognizing when a project has gone off the rails are crucial aspects of successful project management.

But what are the red flags to watch for to prevent project derailment and how can you tell if a project is doomed to fail—even before you start?

This week, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the co-founders of 37signals, sit down with host Kimberly Rhodes to discuss the challenges of project management and share valuable insights on how to stay focused, recognize red flags early on, and foster creative problem-solving in order to see a project through to completion.

Listen in as they reveal the importance of finishing tasks before adding new ones, the pitfalls of multitasking, and the magic of setting clear endpoints. Plus they share Basecamp’s tool for facilitating project monitoring without time-consuming meetings or derailing check-ins.

Tune in for practical solutions for rescuing a project before it’s too late!

Show Notes:
[00:00] - Kimberly opens the show and the topic of how to rescue a project when it’s gone off of the rails.
[00:34] - Adding too much without finishing anything causes chaos. Jason shares the story behind his HEY World piece, Rescuing a project in progress, and shares the advice he gave his friend and how that applies to software development too.
[02:49] - David shares the reasons behind the “Shape Up” approach at 37signals.
[03:44] - You can’t do two things at once, every time you do you lose a little bit…
[04:33] - Clearing the decks, wiping the slate clean, AND deciding what you are going to do with 100% of your time and how it helps you avoid shiny object syndrome.
[05:20] - Why it’s crucial for successful project management to avoid adding new tasks until all the existing unfinished ones are completed.
[06:11] - How the magic of deciding when you’re done helps lower the risk of multitasking.
[08:53] - In software development how can you tell things are going off the rails before it’s way too late?
[09:17] - Jason shares why you need to be tuned into those feelings of being in over your head.
[10:43] - David shares the major red flag moment for him that lets him know you’ve already failed before you even get started.
[12:28] - “The longer, the more complicated the project, the more deceivingly specific people believe they can be when the opposite should actually be true.”
[13:17] - Why you should never give yourself too much time for a project.
[14:13] - The work-in-progress unified system in Denmark for tax assessments of properties that will never be finished (it’s already eight years overdue, and a billion dollars in).
[15:53] - The easiest time to stay on track for a project.
[16:29] - The other problem with long projects is that you get more time to not fix the problem.
[17:17] - The curse of too much time and the sweet spot of creative problem-solving for any endeavor.
[18:06] - X is the epicenter of the problem, start there and THEN see how much of Y and Z you get to before your (set in stone) ship deadline.
[19:37] - Kimberly shares some people’s approach to rescuing projects and the difference at 37signals.
[20:02] - Jason talks about the false sense of security that comes from knowing everything that’s going on.
[21:12] - David shares how “sawing at the wheel” just makes you go slower.
[21:57] - Are we done yet? Are we done? How constant interruptions slow projects down.
[22:42] - How Basecamp’s “Hill Charts” can help a project’s interested parties see where projects stand without a bunch of time-wasting meetings and derailing check-ins
[23:17] - Did you know full video episodes of “Rework” are available? Check out our YouTube channel or find us on Twitter. As always, if you have questions for David and Jason about a better way to work and run your business, we’d love to answer them. Leave your voicemails at 708-628-7850 or send an email. And don’t forget you can find show notes and transcripts on our website.

Links and Resources:

From Jason’s HEY World: Rescuing a Project in Progress – Rescuing a project in progress

Your Estimates Suck on REWORK – Your Estimates Suck | REWORK

Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters – Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters