How To Incorrectly Track The Progress Of A Project

The next time a manager asks you the percentage progress of a task, make sure you reply with a float rounded to 2 decimal places, and say it with full confidence.

Sometime in mid 2000s, the manager of a project I was working on had to take an emergency leave, so another manager filled in for him. It was an agile project, but somehow this other manager managed to come up with a magical Gantt chart for the rest of the project. The project was waterfalled!

The task in question was titled “Create HTML”, a bucket task to dump all UI related tasks from the look of it. Unfortunately I didn’t have the guts to answer with 83.62% back then, and I replied with a magical whole number divisible by 10 instead.

I know that there are still people believing in waterfall methodology to this day (yes, in 2013, believe it or not), and if it works for them, good on them. But whatever the methodology is, asking for a percentage is not going to give you the right idea of how the project is actually progressing.

It makes a good practice for generating magic numbers in your head though :).

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