We humans are prone to think that we are close to a certain solution when in fact we are still far away. This leads us to continue to invest time in one task without noticing that we will never come to an end.
This can be observed in all industries but is especially common in IT-projects.
Regardless of what situation the team is facing, applying three basic rules will help both you and the other members of the team: timeboxing, regularity and commitment.
Timeboxing is a great way gain control over your project. You do timeboxing when you allocate a certain amount of time for the tasks. What you should not forget is to inspect the outcome of the work when the time is up. Normally you and your team realize that the degree of completion is enough to move on to the next topic. If the outcome is not satisfactory yet you might have gained better understanding of the complexity of the task and with it a more accurate goal for the task for the next time box can be defined.
Check the progress of the key tasks on a regular basis together with your team. Call for daily or weekly reviews (depending on the urgency of the topic).
There is no bigger enemy of “getting things done” than a lack of real commitment. Real commitment refers to somebody stating that something will get done by a certain date, and then he/she seeing it through. You can promote real commitment by properly documenting the tasks, assigning a responsible person as well as a due date. Don’t forget to follow up on the completion of the tasks and ask for an explanation when they don’t get them done by the due date. Be kind to people but strict with regard to their commitments.