What happens when we start a project and it is honestly overtaken by events?
We start a project in good faith and then, because context changes, we have to set it aside. It’s work-in-progress, so what do we do? The project isn’t done, we will likely come back to it, but it could be weeks or even months before we touch it again.
These projects Limbo projects – we are unclear when they will start again, we only know that we’ve started them and that they are no longer our priority. We are moving the project from being active to being just another option that may or may not be exercised in the future.
Some people who are, shall we say, really into their Personal Kanban will lose sleep over this. But one word of (hopefully) enlightenment – Personal Kanban is more about understanding our work than it is getting specific things done.
So, we now understand that we have a project that is either in Limbo or getting close to Limbo.
Ask a few key questions as soon as possible and with as many people involved with the project as possible:
- Limbo Really? Is the project really in Limbo or are we simply being distracted by something else? (Make hard, but informed choices when interrupting a project).
- Quick Payoff? Can the Limbo project be focused on and quickly completed? (Even if you greatly reduce the scope of the project, can you quickly realize some benefit from the work done thus far?)
- Future Knowledge? If you are putting this on hold, what will you need to know in the future when you start up again? Write a note to your future self about the state of the work, why it is that way, and the location of any half-completed work.
- How Could This Happen to Me? Be very critical of why this project was allowed to start, only to be abandoned. Abandoning a project is very expensive and very wasteful. Figure out why this happened and take steps to avoid it in the future. Limbos cost money.
Again, Limbos are going to happen. They happen to everyone. Since our contexts and priorities change, it would be foolish to expect that every project we start on will be completed. The goal here is to use the Personal Kanban to understand our work, recognize when a project is in Limbo, and to act responsibly.
Pretty Awesome Image: http://ichigopaul23.deviantart.com/art/My-Limbo-Wallpaper-364369944