But, if you only tried to do several user stories of work and assessed the value of the work at the end of those stories, you would know whether or not to commit to that work now or postpone it until later.
Sometimes, we attempt projects that not only are not easy; they are past our capabilities now. In that case, it’s useful to put projects on a parking lot for now, evaluate them periodically, and decide whether to start them again or keep them on the parking lot.
Use the Parking Lot for Projects Not Under Consideration
A parking lot for projects helps you remove the projects from consideration that don’t deserve to be ranked. Maybe they are past your capabilities for now. Maybe they just don’t supply the business value now that you will need. Maybe you just don’t have enough people to commit to those projects right now. Whatever the reason, you want to remove those projects from consideration for now . That’s why you use a parking lot.
A parking lot helps people in several ways. First, it removes the project from direct consideration for now . You can always take projects off the parking lot later. Second, if you are not sure how to start a project, or how to know when it’s done, you can put them on the parking lot and explain why they are blocked. Third, if you want to kill a project, but you need a politically correct way to do so, you have the parking lot.
Maybe you don’t need to park projects. Maybe you can transform them so they do return business value to the organization.
Transform Projects So They Make Sense
I have periodic projects that my husband likes to give me, such as cleaning out my clothes. That’s supposed to involve going through my clothes and weeding out what doesn’t fit and changing my drawers and closet around so that this season’s clothes are in the drawers and the out-of-season’s clothes are in a closet. You may have noticed from my wording that this is not my favorite project!
For the last few years, I have transformed this project. The public reason is that since I’ve been losing weight (on purpose), I don’t need to change what clothes are in drawers—when they are too big, I put them in bags in the closet and eventually give the bags away. I find this ongoing work of try something on, if it doesn’t fit put it in a bag, if it does fit keep it on, a much easier approach to managing my clothes than a whole project. I don’t have too many clothes, so everything fits in my drawers, in-season or out-of-season.
Yes, my husband’s project just lasts one day or a half-day. Yes, it would make my husband happy to see me do this project. But it’s just not valuable enough for me to placate him and do this.
It’s the same idea with projects in your organization. Maybe they don’t make sense the way they are currently organized or configured. In that case, transform them so they do make sense. If they really don’t make any sense at all, it’s time to kill the project.
Have the Courage to Kill Projects
Maybe you’ve tried transforming a project and it’s still not returning business value. Or, maybe a senior manager has a pet project with no perceivable business value.
You don’t have to do those projects. In fact, you have an obligation to the organization not to do those projects.
Once you start ranking projects