Is being on time overrated?

As any self respecting project manager will tell you that
the measure of a successful project is whether it:

  • Was delivered on time
  • Was delivered within the agreed budget
  • Met with the quality and requirements
  • Facilitated the delivery of agreed change and/
    or benefits

These are the typical success measures of any project and a distinct activity which is planned, defined, monitored, controlled and delivered for a specific benefit or need qualifies as a project.

Lots have been written about the tendencies of projects to fail to meet any or indeed all of the success measures above. It is the stuff of business books. I was therefore quite amused at a very recent, very homely and very customer friendly project which, by the standards above, appears to represent a failed project.

The British Airways “Don’t fly. Support Team GB” advertisement campaign in the UK started airing on the UK TV channels from 35 days to the 2012 July London Olympics.


The “Don’t fly. Support Team GB” project is certainly glossy and well made (quality). It also forces the viewer to sit down and watch. However, as far as the timing of the release is concerned, it appears to display a complete lack of awareness.

The annual summer holiday is a national obsession in the UK. Families look forward to this with almost the same anticipation as the coming of the Messiah. And unless your family consists of just you and your partner, the norm is that the summer holidays are planned meticulously months in advance. Indeed, the savvy holiday companies are so aware of this that they start advertising their exotic (and not so exotic) summer holiday destinations immediately after theXmas public holiday – i.e. from Dec 26th every year. It is a tradition and you can set your clock by this tradition. July and August are “exodus months” in the UK.

Yes, holidays are booked months in advance and, by March, practically everyone aiming to travel abroad has already bought their tickets, sun cream and their swim wear. How on earth British Airways completely missed this point then is beyond me. To start a campaign in June advising people not to travel abroad but stay at home, when most people who want to travel abroad, are practically boarding their planes, is completely baffling!

Unless of course, the real & clever intention is to remind the few people who haven’t made their holiday plans (in the fading hopes that they would secure an elusive ticket to
watch Usain Bolt & co) to get off their bums and do so …and use British Airways carriers in the process???

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