Thursday, June 04, 2009

Six Actions to Promote Project Execution Excellence

Today is just right for taking action to remove some barriers to project execution excellence. If not today, there is a high probability that action will be either significantly delayed or never occur. How long have surprises been disrupting projects already? Below you will find a list of six "today" ideas to pick from. Take action against one of these every day and before long your organization will display a new level of productivity and efficiency, one where improvements will be obvious to all.

Ask a team member
"Is there anything you need that would improve your project contribution?" This is a loaded question and one that can provide a wealth of information about what is not working well. Ask a different team member this question every day and put actions in place to address what you learn.

Face an Issue and take action
You know of something that is a problem and may be hiding behind money, time, or that it's not your problem to be fixed. Take action today to engage on a path towards a solution. If you don't, no one else will either! Time to do this will not last forever, as many companies have already found.

Discover a Problem
Talk to your direct team and talk with other teams to find out what they believe is not working well. Step out of your organizational silo and into another to get a refreshing look at the situation. Consider an outsider as an objective source to uncover roadblocks. There are always unknown barriers to ideal execution and they must be discovered and addressed, or they will continue to silently disrupt your plans.

Issues Brainstorming
Host an informal, no-holds-barred session with your team to uncover the issues. In this case it is extremely important that a non-threatening environment is established to promote the healthy discussion of where the issues reside. Maximize effectiveness by ensuring that everyone leaves his or her healthy egos at the door. Create an actionable plan based on what your learn.

Take a Realistic Look at a Project
Is there a project that has just never felt right to you? Get answers to your concerns and take action, where appropriate. If it has not started elect to table it. If it is in execution consider killing it. Keep in mind that we are not in the business of purely creating cool products; we are in the business of generating profitable revenue. If it's innovative and positively disrupts the market, that's good. If it's an impressive engineering accomplishment that lacks market acceptance, that's bad.

Foster Innovation
Look at the innovation process. Is your organization promoting product, process and work flow ideas or are they being stifled? Create a mechanism to support the generation and resolution of ideas. Ensure there is a reward system for ideas.

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