We held a close-out meeting for two Confucius Institute projects — the PHP Calendar and the Online Catalog. A few things are worth calling out and applying to future projects.


Managing timelines is still difficult for us in IT. While we did deliver a demo in time for a teacher conference, after that the deadline got loosey goosey. We pledge to renew our efforts to:

  • set realistic deadlines
  • work backward from those deadlines; and
  • observe a fake deadline for ourselves set for two weeks earlier


We still fall short in giving regular progress reports, especially when there's no progress to report. This week Christopher and I shifted our Monday status meeting from 3:00 pm to 2:00 pm. This way I'll have time immediately following our status to prepare progress reports for all my stakeholders.

Expectation Gap

Christopher and I had an ah-ha moment listening to Emily describe her understanding of the relationship between the FileMaker database and the searchable online catalog. She assumed they were developed in tandem and would be delivered at the same time. This happened on another project where the stakeholder believed the web interface to be some sort of by-product of the FileMaker solution. We resolve to:

  • Be very clear what the deliverables are; make sure it's spelled out in the Statement of Work and review it with the stakeholder.
  • Make sure we understand the long-term, big-picture goals of the project so we don't waste time on intermediate solutions that will be soon retired.
  • Make sure the stakeholder understands that a FileMaker-only solution doesn't get us any closer to a web solution. I believe we've been asked to develop the former when they really want the latter.

Good Things

Let's congratulate ourselves for what we did right:

  • Delivered solid solutions that meet their needs
  • Responded to changes in scope and absorbed them into the project
  • Provided good documentation beyond what was expected