Project Tango: Dancing With a Deadline

Sometimes I wonder why I ever bother with planning.   Try as I might to have a plan in place to keep my hectic life in order, somehow things change and the plan becomes more of a guideline.   This is okay in many aspects, such as weekend social plans.   I actually prefer doing things spur of the moment  instead of having every waking minute of the weekend scheduled.     While Hubby and I are usually good planners for big social events, we win the prize for lack of planning when it comes to regular weekend activities.

Given our very hectic and incredibly structured work weeks, this laid-back weekend approach is a nice change.   There are drawbacks, of course, as you would expect with a lack of planning.   The newest and best restaurants get booked in advance, so we can't arrive without a reservation at the normal dinner hour of seven and expect to be seated at a table before ten. Go figure.   And because we lack the energy to plan most of our weekend social events, we sometimes miss opportunities for serious fun.   I mean, should I really look at the paper or internet for fun and exciting local entertainment?   Seriously, who has time for that? No, I ™m not bitter that we missed our favorite local band that played last night.   Close by, at a great venue. For free!   It's Hubby's fault, I tell you, that we didn't get to dance the night away. Hubby says, whatever . He's not bitter either.

Where lack of planning becomes a real issue is with work projects. Hubby and I both work in industries that require a great deal of planning, yet also require a great deal of flexibility.   Simply getting a project approved to start takes some serious patience and lots of work.   Once approved, projects start and stop multiple times, details of the project are in constant flux, and even deadlines may change.   It's enough to make a person go mad.

I like to think that I ™ve grown accustomed to my industry, with all of the changes and last minute do-over's.   But lately it's getting the best of me.   A planner at heart, I like to have some sort of organization and schedule. Plans are necessary as they provide a roadmap not only for the company but also my team. Plans allow me to manage more effectively, and hopefully maintain some work-life balance.   In theory, anyway.   Since I never seem to get to stay with my plan, I ™m not sure that it would really work.

Planning for work is sort of like doing the tango, a passionate dance that moves back and forth with aggression and purpose, each side trying to wrestle the other one to their way of thinking.   I ™ve had a project on the calendar for more than a month now, leading the team through the various stages, each week building on the information from the previous week in an attempt to meet our deadline without causing everyone to pull an all-nighter at the last minute.   There's that work-life balance  thing again.

It's occurred to me as we enter the last stretch of the project that no matter how hard I ™ve planned or how hard the team has worked, we are probably going to pull an all-nighter.   In our project tango , the rest of our projects will get pushed to the side; we ™ll work non-stop in the final days to finish the current project as changes fly at us right and left, and then, without a minute to rest, we have to pick up the pieces of the other planned  projects that were ignored as we tangoed the project out the door.

My conclusion on work planning: the only good thing about doing the project tango  is finally the music stops and the dance is finished; we ™ve made the deadline.   The bad news: we ™ve rearranged all of our other project plans and we can see more all-nighters on the horizon.

The music starts, and the dance begins. Project Tango is underway again.


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