One of the 6 questions I asked was Do projects ever end early?
The fascinating part of this was that it has been viewed about 6,400 times and generated 14 answers!
(That's a lot of traffic for a site that has been in beta for almost 6 years because it averages a mere 1.5 questions per day. It needs 10 new questions per day to get out of beta.)
It seems that a lot of people are wondering the same thing: Do projects ever end early?
The question I posed was:
To see the diverse answers, you'll have to go to the site - way too much to paste here.
But the bottom line remains that with a realistic schedule you could finish on time and possibly early.
A realistic schedule is not based on when the customer (or boss, or calendar, etc.) wants it done.
A realistic schedule is created by finalising the spec and then having an experienced Technical Project Manager create a schedule based on input from those doing the work. This schedule will include time for integration, testing and sick leave, amongst other things.
Note that I wrote based on input from those doing the work. An experienced and Technical Project Manager will have a pretty good feel how to take those guesstimates and morph them into a schedule.
E.g.: An experienced and Technical Project Manager will know that people do not realistically work 9 full hours a day, and that no task can take less than a few hours. More about that another time.