Last time, we focused on 3 things to do to keep on track when managing projects.
Let’s start with part of the first step: thinking through the objectives. I can’t tell you how often a project gets started with an idea….an even a great idea…and then no one thinks beyond the idea. One of the first questions should be: “What are we trying to achieve?”
I had one senior executive tell me once that he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to achieve but he read about this idea in Harvard Business Review and felt we should just implement it. Ok. Managing a al HBR may not be the best way to go. HBR is full of great ideas, good models and excellent case studies but is your company the same as the example? What nuances exist in the culture, the performance system, the customers, the leaders? But, I digress…
Knowing what you are trying to achieve is the barometer that everything gets measured against. When you get stuck on whether something should be done or whether the work that is preventing you from reaching a milestone is mission critical, you can ask yourself…does this meet our objective? Simple yes and no answers will help you determine your direction.
Another step I see left out often is the actual measurement to see if we met our objectives. The sole objective CANNOT be: we completed the project, we implemented the system on time. Sure, that is inherent in any project but what was the project supposed to achieve? Less time on something, more engagement of people, more efficiency through automation, less customer wait time, increased customer retention?
Whatever it was, noting these objectives at the front and measuring on the back end is important to see if you made a difference. A difference from a time and money perspective but also for human fulfillment. We all want to have purpose and make a difference. It is an important part of what drives us, what lights us up and what keeps us engaged at work.
It is very easy to skip this step because we have crossed the project off of our long list. But, measuring the outcome matters to the business and to the project team.