S-curve in digitization projects

As I described in my previous email , S-curves also apply to projects. There are all sorts of scenarios and models for this, but let’s take a digitization project as an example:

  1. When a project is started, the first step is to research the situation, form a team and brainstorm possible solutions. The process is a bit slower and little progress is visible. Often the tipping point is when the parties involved have now submitted bids and management can come to an investment decision.
  2. Good preparation is half the battle, and now it is paying off. Now that the plan has been approved, the budgets have been released. The real development begins now. As progress is made, growth suddenly begins to accelerate. Systems are prepared, integrations are activated and the first test setups can be used. If you want to see this rapid growth in the graph, look at the middle of the “s”.
  3. The point that shows maximum growth is called the tipping point or inflection point. These are the most important parts of the curve because this is where growth is stagnant. Currently, all team members are working hard on various subsections. As you progress, unforeseen tasks or costs often arise. This often has to be re-approved and the project slows down a bit. There is progress, but the foundation has already been laid.
  4. The project is now 90% complete. When the process reaches this point, generally only tasks such as final finishing, documentation and user testing, and the final stage of approvals remain unfinished. Progress here often stagnates even further.

The last 10% is 90% effort

Any project manager will recognize the 90/10 rule of project management, where the first 90% is done in 10% of the time, but the last 10% is the most tedious and will take up 90% of the time.

In most large projects, the final phase often takes as long or no longer than phase 2-3. This is because the sense of urgency has waned, the budget has been used up and finishing often takes more time than setting something up quickly.

Like an iceberg, of which usually only a tenth of it surfaces, much of what happens in a project is hidden from view. Smart project management makes the 90% more visible and avoids the 90/10 rule.

An experienced project manager can keep your team on track for faster results and avoid the hidden icebergs instead of sinking your project like the Titanic.

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