A Project Stalled is a Project Damn Near Dead

I remember touring Roy’s big office the first time.

Because his shop designs and develops any kind of project, the modern space was made more eclectic, with all the various products scattered about.

Some products finished and packaged, ready for the shelf.

Others still under construction with their skins peeled back and guts exposed.

Black marker notes scrawled along the surfaces to clearly identify the suggested changes or problem areas that need to be addressed.

So friggin’ cool to see all the ideas in evolution. I get this weird, child-like excitement in a workshop.

One shelf, way to the side, sat dark and lonely.

Even though it was similarly stacked with products and parts, I could tell it was different than the others – an outlier.

“What are those there?” I asked, pointing.

Without looking up, he said “That’s the dead pile.”

“Dead Pile?”

“Yep, projects on hold.” he finally looked up with a slight sadness in his eyes.

“Oh yeah… Damn.” I responded and then fell silent for a moment.

You see, an invention project can get stalled at any point along the way – for damn near any reason.

Stalls are not to be confused with short pauses, that happens for sure.

Things like waiting on an engineer to review details or a prototype in development that’s taking a long time. Those are short pauses.

The stalls I’m talking about are where the project actually shuts down any progress – no one is working on anything.

The usual suspects are the inventor is sidetracked with something else in life or the project runs out of money.

Whatever the reason, the project just stalls out. And it’s not good.

We all have high hopes it will kick off again soon. And, sometimes it does, but, not very often.

A stalled project is sad because the likelihood it will restart is a very low percentage point.

So what does one need to do?

You prepare and plan ahead.

If you know the point where you’re going to run out of money, you start sourcing early. 6-months at least.

Most inventors don’t run a budget projection sheet – but they should.

If you get sideways at home or your job and can’t spend the time on the project it requires, you hire a fill-in.

A final idea is to slow the project to a drip, but not shut it off completely. Inform everyone on the project that the pace will be greatly reduced to to the circumstances, but make sure communication continues and a little bit of work is being done, just spread out and slower.

It’s a sucky answer but I have seen it work. Even after several years…

Bottom line, do your best NOT to let the project stall.

Keep that baby alive no matter what it takes.


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