Our new project scheduling tool allows exactly one day to write and translate all the manuals for a major new system. Are they nuts? What do I do?
Project managers maintain complicated Gantt charts with dependencies in order to foster the illusion that projects follow an orderly process. Projects are more like wild beasts tamed by chairs, and even that only goes so far.
Let’s face it, development done right is messy and chaotic. Unfortunately, development done wrong can look exactly the same. So, how do you tell the difference?
A lot of top execs, even brilliant ones, seem to think that shouting at people to do it faster is all they need to do to “make it happen”. Or, no matter how well the team does, the Dark Lord still screams, “Only 100,000 units? Why wasn’t it 200,000?” What their teams don’t understand is that the impossible deadline is just another gimmick to make them work like crazed weasels.
I would ignore the schedule altogether and just check with SMEs when the product is frozen enough to start documenting. If people start trying to hold you to the schedule, just hand them random pages off the printer and tell them you “just need to incorporate important comments from Legal.”