Ask tough questions at the beginning of your projects.
Because at the beginning of the project you:
- are new
- have nothing to lose
- have not spent any money
- are mostly still sane and rational, and
- have time to do something about it if you discover something you don’t like.
The beginning of a project is the time to ask those tough, uncomfortable, awareness generating questions that all too often go left unsaid because:
a) people are just being nice and are too polite to raise them, or
b) it’s still a big love in and everyone is still gazing lovingly into each other eyes.
Like all strong marriages, if you are going to build a lasting relationship with your team, and your customers, you need to start preparing for the day after the honeymoon. Start talking plainly and frankly about how you are going to address some challenges you see on the horizon.
For example, if you start hearing things like:
Waiting to have frank discussions about these and other project pitfalls till the end of the project is too late. No one will want to hear it.
Raise issues early. Have frank, respectful discussions. And talk about these things while you are sane.
Don’t expect to resolve everything.
But have the conversation.