I’ve been teaching my daughter to ride a bike (or she has been teaching me the need for physical fitness). Getting started is really hard. That first kick off and push, the flailing for the pedal, the herky jerky motion all conspire to make just getting started moving a challenge. Once she’s got some momentum, things are much easier. She cruises right along and gives a running narration along the way. Then there is the stopping. Stopping is always a mystery: will she slam on the brakes, roll to a gentle halt, or do something much more dramatic? I never know, and speaking as a parent, I’m completely terrified about this part.
Of course I’ve seen this before. Starting a project is often an awkward time. Getting commitment from key stakeholders, planning, envisioning – there is a lot of uncertainty. But once a project gets going, on average they have a momentum of their own. There is that first euphoric thrill of “we’re working!” and things feel great. Finally, there is stopping the project. Sometimes gracefully, and sometimes a complete wipe-out!