You Usually Lose the Race Well Before the Finish

I’m a runner, biker and swimmer, and enjoy participating in race events.  Whether half marathons, triathlons, or a Spartan-type event, getting out and competing is enjoyable.  I’m not super fast.  I’m not going to take first place, or even in the top 20 in the larger events.  I’m usually somewhere in the top 40%.  My biggest competition is me; I strive to beat my best time every race.

Yesterday I ran in a half marathon.  The course was flat and scenic.  I was also motivated by the fact that within a couple hours, severe thunderstorms were forecast to role in.  I had a goal in mind and as the gun sounded, set off to achieve my time.  However, at mile 8 I was a little off pace but knew I could make it up.  By mile 11 as I looked at my trusty Garmin, I was progressively getting farther behind.  Even if I ran hard, I wouldn’t make my time plus I’d run the risk of “bonking” before getting to the finish line.

What I’ve learned is I don’t make my goal time right at the finish.  Somewhere during the race, anywhere between 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through, I know I’m off pace.  Sometimes I can adjust and make my desired time.  In other cases, I can’t and adjust my expectations.

Now, if you think of your projects, they all start with a goal in mind.  They have a specific scope and timeline laid out.  As time goes on, you constantly monitor progress.  There will come a time where you may find you’re off the pace.  Sometimes you can adjust and stick to your original goal.  Other times, you’ll need to work with your stakeholders and modify expectations.

Your project is like a race.  Not meeting expectations starts well before the finish line.  By constantly monitoring, you can either adjust to meet the goal or set a new expectation.  Run hard!


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