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I have been fortunate enough to have recently begun two milestone projects: the first, hopefully of many implementations as a lead consultant, and the second, my first (hopefully only) wedding day. During both of these projects, I have been reminded of an important precept: front load your pain.

Pain in this phrase doesn’t mean physical pain but rather effort and decisiveness. It can be quite laborious defining the scope of a project as it entails technical and practical considerations and likely compromises, but it is an important first step for a successful project. Correspondingly, choosing a wedding ceremony/reception venue is monumental as it defines the tone of the wedding and is probably the largest cost of the project.

In both of these long term projects it would be easy to consider only the final deadline and decide that there’s plenty of time to complete everything; that it can be done later. This is a dangerous attitude that can lead to a stressful ‘crunch’ in which all tasks that were previously postponed need to be performed but now with the additional pressure of time limitations.

Whereas, if tasks are performed as soon as possible, whether it be upgrading a server or booking a photographer, more time will be left for the tasks that need to wait, and there will be enough of those. For instance, user training cannot be realistically performed until a stable, fully developed database is ready. The sooner that is done, the fewer last minute modifications need to be made. Similarly, wedding seating arrangements can’t be finalised until all of the invitees have responded, and it’s much easier to focus on that if the tasks of calling the band, the celebrant and the seamstress have already been completed.

Keeping the adage, ‘Front Load Your Pain’ in mind, I’m confident about the success of both of my ongoing projects but only time will tell. Until then you will be able to find me waiting for the database to compile while I flip through colour swatches.