It’s often seen that designers and clients start getting flustered when the project is on the brink of completion. This is the last mile and the toughest to handle, because at this stage mind is in an anxious state to complete the project and get on with the next one. Also, most designers feel the euphoria during creative phases and lose steam as the project moves into technical and execution mode. Perhaps, the last mile is the most important mile in any passage of activity that must come to a conclusive end. It is also the most frustrating mile as one is almost there but yet not. It is the same feeling as your plane circling around before landing or your train parked at the outer locations as it crawls to the destination.
Such situations make the virtual time expand to disproportionate dimension, creating a good likelihood of losing cool. Flaring up at this point is so obvious, while the challenge is to let the positive energies flow steadily. This is where we need patience and perseverance. It is like making a painting with a hazy idea and then evolving it into something meaningful. Yet the final strokes make all the difference. The last strokes differentiate between a masterpiece and an average piece of art. Same is true in design, sustained energy to keep improving till the end of the project, penetrating down to tweak the final details, small little modifications and refinements make all the difference. Being open to inputs from the stakeholders, while responding in judiciously is an art that each one of us need to master consciously as our experience grows.
Last mile has the power to break long lasting relationships. Primarily because it creates the slip between ‘completion with contentment’ and ‘completion for the heck of it’. A small advisory to the team to be prepared for this phase is a good beginning. Thereafter, project managers need to take on the mantle with a focused aim to exceed the expectations of the client at the time of completion. Our intent should be to pair with the client and run the last mile as a true companion to touch the finishing line with aplomb and give a high five to each other.