Has a client ever told you, “We would like to develop our standards while executing this project?” This statement is usually followed by the assertion that the project timeline will not change, and that improved standards will in fact speed the project toward its deadline.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Projects have an installation target date, while standards development requires many levels of discussion, agreement and buy-in. The standards development team is then challenged to meet their timeline for definitions and sample code.
It’s true that once standards are developed, an efficient path toward a project due date can be developed utilizing these standards. However, when you mix the two, the standards become less defined and more subject to changes while the concentration of development efforts eventually are pulled into the race to complete the project on time.
Astute technical managers realize the two worlds are very connected, but at the same time must be managed differently. Standards development should be separated from the project itself; then all parties can decide if the project deadline will be determined upon standards approvals, or if the project can proceed without full standards.
Trying to manage standards and projects simultaneously can lead to murky standards and a rushed project. But you’re too sharp to let that happen to you, aren’t you?