The “Hard-Stop” method



Time and money are two of your business’ most crucial resources. They are hard to acquire, easy to expend, and nearly impossible to replenish. Whenever a new product or service model is deployed, mistakes will be made – some failures are unavoidable. Mistakes and failures don’t have to destroy a company’s chances though; they can serve to ultimately make your business stronger. The bigger issue is how much time and money is expended in the learning process.


Today’s entrepreneurs realise this issue and are utilising the “hard-stop” method, a technique in agile project management, to manage a business’ budget as well as development schedules. The “hard-stop” technique has proven to be effective in helping business owners evaluate assets – retaining what is working well and dismissing what is not.


With the “hard-stop” method, team members are assessed by their contribution on any given project. If it is decided their performance is falling short, questions will be asked and the team leader must then take the necessary actions regarding the team which failed to meet its goals. Team members or even suppliers who cannot achieve within the “hard-stops” are removed from the project. These assessments and subsequent changes must be done when goals are not reached, so that the team does not continue proceeding in the same direction.


Within an agile team methodology, delivery demands and a fast pace add pressure for teams to meet deadlines. The pressure applied by “hard-stops” makes a number of people uncomfortable; but discovering what works and eliminating obstacles (team members or projects) makes for a powerful, cost-effective method of progression for a business because failures breed learning and “hard-stop” eliminates failures quickly.


Of course, eradicating the loss of failure is the goal of the “hard-stop” method – investing in the champions and identifying shortcomings sooner means a lower cost and shorter time to a successful outcome.

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