Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting your Top Five Obstacles Behind You

Back on December 1 I posted and article titled "The Top Five Obstacles to Predictable Project Execution". This posting is a follow up to that article.

What are the next steps after the top five common project execution obstacles have been identified as scope control, individual objective clarity, project planning detail, requirements closure and project leadership skills? Ideally we must improve upon each of the obstacles to the point where they no longer:

  1. Enable the need for rework of already completed tasks.
  2. Enable wait states due to lack of information.
  3. Enable non-value added activities to take place.
These three project performance indicators become the measurement criteria for work flow efficiency and will be invaluable in providing insight into progress. Once they are no longer enabled, predictable project execution will result!

The primary step is to adequately resource an effort to eliminate these top five. It must be a focused effort with someone responsible for delivering a solution, wherever in the organization that solution may need to be. But wait, adequately resource? I have just lost you on costs, haven't I? OK, let me back up a bit. The primary step is to identify how much these top five are costing you in terms of delays to revenue ready products. Now you have a justification for the second step, which is to adequately resource the effort to remove these top five barriers.

Get someone on the hook with the passion to uncover root cause, ability to gain consensus for real solutions and be comfortable working across all organizational silos. Failure to do so will be a grave error and allow a naysayer the opportunity to say, "I told you so". Recovery from a failed attempt will be far more difficult than engaging the ideal resource in the first place. Do not cut corners in putting the right person in place for driving the solutions.

Approach the top five with a strategic approach to problem solution. A tactical attitude would focus on activities within a NPD project workflow whereas a strategic approach will focus on the big picture view of how to plan, resource and engage on projects to eliminate impact from the top five. The mission is a change from what is "believed" the best the team can do - to becoming the best via the elimination of the obstacles that are well known disruptions to projects. Don't focus on why things can't change, evolve thinking to how things can be changed.

Have you started the mental list of why this could never work for your organization? The uniqueness of your particular situation precludes this from being possible, right? Fight the negative thoughts or you will only strengthen the hold of the status quo. Justification of uniqueness will pave a lethal path to non-action. The time is now for a focused attack on the top five sources of unpredictability in project execution. Honestly, why wouldn't you get started today?

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