Looking for a Goldilocks Moment



By Jeff Oltmann

Oregon, USA

The timing of a good decision is like a Goldilocks moment – not too soon and not too late. Here’s what I mean.

Keira’s Dilemma

Keira is a product manager at MicroBiomics, responsible for releasing a new assay kit product.  Development is on a tight schedule but going well.    However, when Keira attended an industry conference last week, she realized that competitors are more capable than she expected.  Her new product will be much more competitive if she directs her team to stop and add several missing features.  The downside is that changes at this late date will squeeze the schedule and add risk.

When should Keira decide?  It would be risky to declare a course change immediately without real data or customer input.  But the window of opportunity will be gone if she spends too much time gathering and analyzing data, or worse yet, procrastinates because she’s uncomfortable with high stakes decisions.

The Last Responsible Moment

A technique called the last responsible moment (LRM) can help Keira identify the Goldilocks moment for her decision.  This is the point at which:

  1. A valuable option expires
  2. Important sources of information or assistance become unavailable
  3. The schedule will be forced to slip significantly
  4. Further delaying the decision greatly increases risk or expense


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How to cite this article: Oltmann, J. (2024).  Looking for a Goldilocks Moment, PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/pmwj142-Jun2024-Oltmann-looking-for-goldilocks-moment.pdf

About the Author

Jeff Oltmann

Oregon, USA


Jeff Oltmann is a seasoned leader with over 30 years of experience advising clients, managing successful technology programs, and developing new products. His specialties include strategy deployment, operational and project excellence, and project portfolio management. As principal consultant at Synergy Professional Services, Jeff advises leaders and teams in diverse sectors including healthcare, research, bioscience, and technology product development.

Jeff is the founder of the Portfolio and Project Leaders Forum.  He is also on the graduate faculty of the Division of Management at Oregon Health and Science University and was previously on executive staff at IBM.    He teaches portfolio, program, and project management and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®).

Jeff welcomes your questions and ideas.  You can contact him at jeff@spspro.com or read previous articles at www.spspro.com/article-library.