Push And Pull

In medium to large organisations the pipeline for new projects is often wide and business owners battle amongst themselves to grab budget and ensure priority calls go their way. Resources are finite. Budgets are not unlimited and resources cannot always be scaled up to accelerate work products creation (in software development projects at least – so even if a project has its budget secured, the next hurdle is securing resources to deliver the objectives at a suitable time (i.e., very soon).

IT departments often are confronted with many part of the business pushing for their work to be done first. You would think that IT would be courted by business owners for favours but that’s actually often more blame and escalate game.

Part of the problem is expectations management. Projects begin as ideas and they mature the cost to deliver and timescale start to materialise in the owner’s mind and often this is crystallised and assumed as reality. When IT end up being fully engaged and discover more of the requirements then the picture drawn up is often different that the crystallised picture. Disappointment occur.

The other problem is managing resources constraints, even if a project is funded there are other projects running already and the newly approved project might face resources shortfall. Again a source of disappointment.


First build visibility very early of capacity and potential bottleneck. Capacity should never come as a surprise to anybody in the organisation.

Second, manage expectations. Often project spend a lot of time at business case and requirements level, if delays occur there then resources might have gone (taken by another project) and timescale won’t look good by the double effect of late requirements and less resources available. So capacity updates should be regular once the project has started.

This is the usual symptom of a “Push” mode, where projects are pushed towards delivery. The alternative is a “Pull” mode where the delivery teams pull work when they have capacity to deliver. That’s when the business as a whole decides which project comes next for delivery.