If you’re working towards a key release, the pressure mounts for everyone involved as it approaches. For the technical team responsible for delivery the rising pressure in this situation is nearly always negative if left unchecked. As time runs out the drumbeat gets faster and faster as the team is whipped up to ramming speed, a bit like the galley slaves in Ben Hur.
This type of pressure creates a negative spiral. People become fatigued and make more mistakes, which creates even more work and adds even more pressure. There might be a hero that saves the day but this degenerating situation does not bring the best out of people. It damages relations between the team and those applying the pressure. It sets a precedent for work performance and dents enthusiasm. Pressure is a reality. It can boost performance in the short term, but over the long term it needs to be measured otherwise it’s a slippery slope into a bad place.
Rather than stress the team out about getting everything done in time, there’s an opportunity for the customer to create positive pressure within the team. Think about the shared vision, common purpose and sense of shared ownership. The product is everyone’s baby – channel that passion and energy. Create excitement around the release by raising curiosity about the product’s performance in the market and the business results it could generate. Curiosity is a powerful thing. Let it be the driving force.