It might have started in the realm of physics but you hear it mentioned constantly on the sports field. And it is often mentioned in relation to business projects.
Yet, despite its prevalence all around us, little is known about this mystical power that can fundamentally alter the course of a game or business outcome.
It refers to a team or project that for little apparent reason, clicks into gear to create better results than normal.
Somehow the combination of factors influencing performance suddenly align, leading to results that are greater than just the sum of its parts.
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
And digital projects like websites are no exception.
Keeping up the momentum
Provided a project is kept to schedule, all important momentum is kept and, it’s in good hands, it will proceed like clockwork.
But if the project falls behind schedule, this momentum is lost and projects can get bogged down — often irretrievably.
Usually the schedule failure is a result of two key factors: an unforeseen setback or someone on the team not delivering their agreed component on time.
The multiple costs of delays
If the delay is not great, often the project can get back on track and retrieve its momentum.
But the greater the delay in delivering that component, the greater the difficulty in hoping to deliver the end result anywhere near its agreed deadline.
The consequences of a blown project deadline can be devastating for all concerned.
Given that there are usually significant sums of money involved in the project, blown deadlines will mean a number of serious business consequences.
First it can devastate cashflow. Most projects are geared towards paying only when certain agreed milestones are reached. Obviously if that milestone is not reached on time, neither will the payment, and that can affect basic business costs, like paying wages and other overheads.
Then there is the opportunity cost of not achieving the end benefit of the project.
If it’s a website, the organisation involved will not get the benefits the new website promises. If it’s business website, that means the business in question gets stuck with the status quo — be that a an old website that looks bad, is unresponsive (doesn’t adapt to device screen resolutions), or is poorly optimised for search engines.
That could mean the most disastrous consequence of all — a prospect abandons your business for a competitor!
Picking up the thread
The other reason that momentum is lost on projects is that much of the copious detail that can be involved simply gets forgotten by the project team and needs to be revisited to pick up the thread of where it left off.
Many projects are packed with these interdependent details, which, when momentum is there, simply stays top of mind when completing project tasks.
But when a delay is introduced, team members often have to spend unscheduled time re-connecting with the various tasks, creating further time and financial cost.
Getting back on track
Who hasn’t been interrupted by a phone call or unexpected visitor and then returned to the task at hand thinking, ‘now where was I?’
The more interruptions you get, the more this momentum is lost, and the greater the cost to the organisations involved.
So if you are a part of a project team, it’s critical that you deliver your agreed component on time. Because the cost to all organisations is far greater than meets the eye.