The 30% Factor

By Rajesh Setty | Published on:

Every worthwhile project comes with varying levels of resistance throughout the lifecycle of that project.

If you are one of those that can overcome this resistance, not just once, but throughout the lifecycle of the project, you will see the project through completion.

On the other hand, if you are one of those people that can’t seem to overcome the resistance at a particular point in the project lifecycle, you will abandon the project. If you are very smart, you will not only abandon the project, you will also come up with one or more brilliant excuses that will absolve your hand in the abandonment.

Having completed hundreds of projects and probably abandoning equal number of small and big projects over the decades, I have concluded that The 30% Factor plays a major role in whether we abandon projects or take them to completion.

The 30% Factor is the willingness and commitment to pay the price for the crucial 30% of the project. That 30% is split into three key stages of the project where there is the highest amount of resistance.

The three phases are:

1. The Real Start:

The real start of the project is when you put something (other than time) valuable to you on the line. An example everyone understands is “hard earned money.” It is important to know why “investing time” is not considered in this equation because there is no way to prove that time was indeed valuable to you and alternatively you had other (better) options to invest your time at that point in your life.

This is probably the hardest 10% that people have to go through and that’s why most projects take birth and die in the minds of people.

2. The Real Breakdown:

Whether you like it or not, there will be breakdowns more than once in the lifecycle of the project. The real breakdown occurs when you end up at a crossroad – one road moving you forward and the other road pointing to a U-turn. The road moving forward has all sorts of barricades and it seems almost insurmountable. The radio in the car tells you that you should take a detour, now! Plus, people all around you (even your well-wishers) urge you NOT to take that road. This is where you are truly tested and are asked to put more things that are valuable to you on line.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. When the going gets really tough, many tough people will find even better excuses to quit.

3. The Real Finish:

If the first 90% of the project takes 90% of the time, the last 10% will take another 90% of the time. This is where you get down and dirty into the details of the project. There is no “I’ll take a look at this later” option at this point. Either you do it now or face the consequence of postponing the ship date for the project. This is also when you realize the difference (actually, chasm) between “you are almost done” and “you are done.”  The chasm is way bigger than you think it is.

This is the 10% when the project seem to take way longer than planned and costing way more than budgeted. It is also the period when you start feeling if it was all worth it in the end.

Most people are willing and committed to pay the price for the 70% of the project but very few extend that willingness and commitment to the remaining 30% of the project.

The 30% factor makes all the difference.

Rajesh is a frequent speaker at conferences and companies on
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