At a Snail’s Pace: 3 things to learn from the Gastropod



We are in a rushed world.  We want instant gratification and we expect timely service from our suppliers and our customers expect it from us.  When we manage projects we are looking at the critical path and trying to crunch the schedule as much as possible without any slip.  As project managers, our job is to complete the project with the right quality, cost and in time.

I was watching this particular snail move across the sidewalk.  It was slow and deliberate.  When it ran across an obstacle it took its time to evaluate the best way around it and then continued on its journey. In this relatively short amount of time I felt myself relax and become amazed with the simple movements and methodical pace of this creature.

When we are running projects we tend to rush through them in order to get the results.  What we neglect is the setup.  This is where a methodical pace will get us somewhere faster than the crazed frenzy we typically use.


Take the time to investigate.
We often leave out the most important part of the project: evaluating its validity in the first place.  Many projects are “handed” to project managers with the assumption that it will get done; that it has already been vetted.  But usually the project has only had a cursory glance and it “felt” to be a good opportunity.

Work with the end-user to begin the project.
“A stich in time saves nine,” right?  Slowing down at the beginning and getting a solid working definition of the project objectives through the eyes of the user is the best way to make sure that the project stays done (in other words you don’t have to keep revisiting and revising the project after it is “closed”).

Incorporate time to get around obstacles.
Just like our shelled mascot, give yourself time to properly evaluate obstacles as they arise throughout your project.  Conduct a solid risk assessment (sometimes this can be as simple as on the back of a napkin for smaller projects) and think of how to mitigate those risks.  When they show up, you will have the beginning of a workaround that you can refine when the risk arrives.


 What other benefits come from slowing down a project?


2 thoughts on “At a Snail’s Pace: 3 things to learn from the Gastropod

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s