How far have we come?

· January 30, 2015

A few days back, I said something to my client that apparently many people on Twitter found interesting:

My client, the hospital that I’ve written about many times before, has a big project ahead. We are going to be accredited for quality in all our processes. So… there’s a lot of documentation, implementation, and training to be done.

Nobody really knows how much. We think, from hearing about other projects, that it’s about 6 months and made that our goal. But we haven’t got a clue how much work it is left for us.

Assessing Progress

So I asked them:

How far have we come?

The answer was a typical one: “Well… we’ve created these plans, the structure of the teams, and a time schedule.”

Me: “Ok great! But how far have we come?”

Them [now looking very confused]: “… so … the teams have met one time and …”

Me: “No, you don’t understand. How much work is left? The plans are nice and everything but it doesn’t tell us anything about how much work we have done. Or how much is left. Or how long time it will take. It’s just plans.”

Tracking Progress

For transparency, we devised a method to track progress:

Definition of Done

We established a common definition of done: “Ready for accreditation review, according to the checklist.”

Work Assessment

We track progress towards the targets set for each team. Each team reports progress towards their total number of targets.

  • Team 1: 2/17 targets Done
  • Team 2: 1/6 targets Done
  • Team 3: 8/32 targets Done
  • Team 4: 23/120 targets Done

Done Criteria

Done means there’s no more work to do with that target. It’s a binary state: Done or Not Done.

Time Tracking

I created a visual representation of weeks on our whiteboard. This helps us understand the urgency of our tasks.

Acting on Data

By being transparent about our progress, we empower ourselves to make informed decisions:

  • Scenario Analysis: By projecting our current pace, we realized we might not meet our deadline before Ramadan.
  • Adjustments: We can now consider adding more resources, adjusting targets, or rescheduling tasks.
  • Outcome Optimization: If progress exceeds expectations, we can plan an accreditation review sooner.


Plans are essential, but they’re just predictions. By focusing on real-time data, we can adapt and ensure success. Transparency empowers us to make informed decisions, ultimately leading to better outcomes.

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