3. For any project, if you have not done deliverable-based planning, you are in a disaster. You just don't know it yet. In agile, this means you do a demo at the end of an iteration. For kanban, you do demos when you have finished a feature. For a more traditional project, you build in demos or other deliverables at regular milestones.
If you have done deliverable-based planning, and you see no
deliverables, you are in trouble. You should always be able to see a
deliverable of some sort.
4. Ask the people on the team what their
confidence level is in the schedule. Ask them anonymously. If they
start to have less than 80% confidence, you are in trouble. You can do this for any project.
5. If you have no release criteria, you are in a disaster. I'm not fond of changing release criteria, because it feels as if you are chasing a butterfly. But, if you can't meet the current release criteria for some reason, change them to something you can meet. Release criteria are not stretch goals; they are criteria you expect to meet.
If you see any of these signs on your project, act. Write a charter with a vision and release criteria. Make sure you have a servant leader for the team. Develop deliverable-based milestones. Ask the people on the project what their confidence level is.
Now, you have a shot of avoiding disaster.
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