Planning to Fail: Long Hours, Mounting Stress and Aggressive Goal Setting

Thus far, we’ve seen numbers related to confidence in project planning and our failure to produce accurate project estimates. In this post, we’ll see that failing to meet project delivery dates doesn’t come from lack of effort, though we will see another sign that we’re indeed setting ourselves up for failure. Here’s three new data points from our project planning survey related to long hours, mounting stress and aggressive goal setting.

stress increasesI don’t think anyone will see this as a surprise, but we thought it’d be important to get an idea for how people’s stress level changed over time. There was strong recognition that our stress increases over time.

number of hours increasesAlso… and unfortunately… another response that is not overly surprising. Something I take away from this: if increasing the number of hours a person is working is being seen as a way to compensate for poor planning, it’s not working.

aggressive estimatesThe strongest response of the entire survey was for this question. A whopping 89% of participants asserted that their management pushes for aggressive deadlines. Surprised? Do you think aggressive deadlines working for us?

Weighing these data with those we’ve reported in previous posts, what do they tell you about the state of project planning in hardware development?


About nosnhojn

I've been working in ASIC and FPGA development for more than 13 years at various IP and product development companies and now as a consultant with XtremeEDA Corp. In 2008 I took an interest in agile software development. I've found a massive amount of material out there related to agile development, all of it is interesting and most of it is applicable to hardware development in one form or another. So I'm here to find what agile concepts will work for hardware development and to help other developers use them successfully. I've been fortunate to have the chance to speak about agile hardware development at various conferences like Agile2011, Agile2012, Intel Lean/Agile Conference 2013 and SNUG. I also do lunch-n-learn talks for small groups and enjoy talking to anyone with an agile hardware story to tell! You can find me at
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