If a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is put in cold water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.

Similarly, projects don’t go wrong overnight, but gradually and under the radar, until they are cooked to death.

The lesson here? You need to check your frogs….

two frogs

Watch out for the tell-tale signs:

  • Late working – one or two days is okay, but if sustained…
  • Re-planning – “every project is on time according to the last plan written”
  • Re-Scoping – features being removed – especially easy to hide in an Agile project
  • “It will do” mentality – perhaps accepting poor performance of some code rather than fixing it
  • “We will catch up” mentality – denial can waste valuable recovery time, don’t leave it too late to review and call for help
  • Surprises – we identify technical risks and deal with them up front or in a Proof of Concept project


Two or more of the above and your frog is cooked!

Each of the below should be considered as turning up the heat on your frog!

  • Increasing management involvement – can be overdone
  • Preoccupation with bug counts and burn down charts – Not all bugs are created equal
  • Requesting additional staff – pulling from other projects – Natural team size for work, adding cooks can actually slow things down…
  • Stakeholders missing meetings – lack of engagement/interest
  • “Don’t bring me bad news” culture
  • Presence of a “Project Monitor” rather than a “Project Manager

Two or more of the above and your frog is cooked!

Now – have a look around you – are there any frogs slowly cooking??