Many projects start without having built a solid foundation for success. This foundation includes having a clear and common definition of the change, its parameters and constraints, and a unified vision of the future state. Teams often assume that everyone is ďon the same pageĒ, only to find months down the road that this is not the case. As a result, the team has to backtrack, or even worse, the project is abandoned, or seen as a failure.
The Importance of Starting Right
Effective implementation is characterized by a shared purpose, goal, and process. Given Edward Demingís statement that the success or failure of any process is determined in the first 20% of that process, itís extremely important that initiatives get started correctly.
Teams often start with a project charter, but charters donít always serve to effectively align the project team. In addition, charters arenít necessarily designed to be a communication tool for sharing the importance of this project to others in the organization.
Instead, identifying the Business Case for Action should be a key initial activity for any project team. This is a concise statement that describes three elements:
- What is changing
- Why is it changing
- What are the consequences of not changing
The Business Case for Action (BCA) becomes the foundation for ensuring there is a clear and commonly-held definition of the change that is used throughout the project lifecycle.
Defining the New Behaviors
Defining the new performance expectations in behavioral terms is a second critical activity for building project success. Itís easy to get wrapped up in planning the business and technical activities for a project, but without having defined the new behaviors, projects are doomed to fall short. The team will also need to identify the groups that will be impacted by this change, both directly and indirectly.
Since implementation is defined as delivering projects ďon time, on budget, with all business, technical, and human objectives metĒ, the team must identify the new behaviors up front so that the appropriate communication and reinforcement strategies are put in place. These reinforcement strategies will have an enormous impact on the projectís success.
In addition, teams should identify how these new behaviors will be measured early on.
Initial Work Products
Beyond the Business Case for Action and behavior definition, there are other work products that the team should complete as initial activities. These work products include:
- A high-level implementation strategy and timeline
- Verification of an authorizing sponsor and organization commitment to the project
- A decision cost/benefit matrix
- Validated success metrics, including budget, timeframes, business, technical, and human objectives
- Identified target audiences with specific communication strategies to introduce this implementation to the rest of the organization
- Where applicable, an integration strategy that defines interdependencies with any other projects impacted by this implementation
These work products will enable the team to build the foundation for future project success. By doing a better job up-front, project teams will:
- Increase the likelihood of project success, leading to Return on Investment
- Endure less business disruption caused by team members who are not aligned, and either inadvertently or purposely create barriers
- Make better use of finite resources, and waste much less time solving issues that could have been avoided up-front through these project definition activities
IMAís new Project JumpStart 2-day program will get your project team positioned for Return on Investment.
program overview and agenda, or contact Paula Alsher, Vice President, Client Solutions at 866-996-7788 or by email at email@example.com for more information.