In the previous post, we defined the fourth project game, Sweep Under The Rug. Happy Date is the fifth project game, when the delivery date is enforced by sponsors. The post is based on a remarkable book written by Johanna Rothman, Manage It!
Happy Date Pattern
When project sponsors set the delivery date, and the project team accepts this date, it is a pattern for a happy date. Project sponsors want to be placated, and the project team placates the sponsors. This is similar to the Queen Of Denial pattern where the project team does not placate sponsors but tell them reality instead.
To win this game, you must not placate project sponsors. Explain to them the reality of enforced delivery date. Using iterative or agile project life cycle, you can enforce that you will have something to present to sponsors at the end of an iteration. Using milestone ranges is also an option. You will present the reality in terms of best, worst, and middle delivery dates set by the project team.