Managing a software delivery project, as you may have already found from reading this guide, leaves no scope for complacency. You need to keep you wits about you at all times.
There will be times where everything seems to be going right; your team are on target, the customer is onboard, the budget is on the nail. In some ways this is the time you should be extra-vigilant.
Projects generally don’t coast down the highway of delivery, they need to be driven.
So, in the times when things aren’t going wrong for you and you’re spending a lot of time fixing problems, make sure the team don’t lift the foot from the pedal too much. That’s not to say you can’t ease off a little, especially if you’ve been buring the midnight oil for a period, the guys need to have a chance to draw breath. But make sure it doesn’t ease off too far or you’ll find it hard to get things going again.
Keep a look-out for people coming in late and leaving early, keep an eye on the productivity levels, keep an ear open for the chat on the shop-floor. If it’s beginning to look like things are getting a bit too relaxed, it’s probably time to kick it up a notch or two, but do it subtly.
Maybe suggest the guys get ahead of the game to give scope for coping better with problems that may arise later. Perhaps get them to look at clearing the decks of some of those little tasks that got put to the side when things were busy. Even a bug-blitz to get the stats looking better. All of these things are relatively painless and deliver that little it of extra value to the pot for your project as a whole.