WILY: Root Cause vs. Symptom

One day last week, we noticed that the water level in the pool was down at least an inch, and almost below the skimmer.  We'd left the solar cover off the night before and the day was hot and dry.  We assumed the loss was due to evaporation, and topped the water off using the garden hose.

The pool was down again the next day.  There was no evidence of a leak around the exterior or in the yard.  Like the day before, we assumed the water evaporated and replaced the missing water from the hose.

When the water was down again the next morning, we looked closer.  Climbing on the deck, we saw the two-inch flowing river from behind the stairs and where much of the sand had been washed away from beneath the pool.  Knowing there was a leak, and having an idea of the general location, we jumped in and quickly found a 1/2" or so tear in the liner behind the stairs and easily repaired it.

Most projects will have faults or run into problems.  When they do, it's important to identify the root cause vs. treating the symptoms.  

Maybe your project is running behind because of a poorly decomposed WBS, a lack of training or clarity for the work that needs to be done, or even poor stakeholder engagement.  In any case, the real reason - the root cause - must be properly diagnosed and addressed.

Treating the symptoms, such as by crashing the project, will have you throw a few hundred extra gallons of water at it, only to be just as far behind the next day.