realization

Squishy Goals Mean Squishy Outcomes

Performance measurements are only as good as your goals.

Goals ► Priorities ► Outcomes ► Initiatives

Do your organizational goals sound something like this: Foster talent by building a culture that maximizes opportunities for growth. Sounds nice, right? But how would you measure that? How would you know when you’ve achieved it? The truth is, it would be next to impossible. Whether you’re creating goals at an organizational level or at an operational level, here are some tips for improving them so that you can demonstrate their achievement.

Describe the outcome.
The trick is to describe the result you hope to achieve rather than the activity. Measuring an activity can result in meaningless metrics. (It is also wise to stay away from words and phrases that cannot be measured such as maximize or more efficient.) Here’s a possibility: Growth and innovation will increase through training, mentoring, and creating time buffers around scheduled projects.

Studies have shown that goal specificity and level of difficulty have a direct impact on employee performance: Goals that are specific and challenging (but not unreasonable) lead to better performance by motivating employees.

Create line of sight.

Just as important, a clear line of sight should exist between corporate objectives and the goals set at the operational level—employees should be able to grasp their roles’ importance in the larger picture. In order to achieve this, it is helpful to include different levels of the organization in developing the goals to ensure consensus, cooperation, and realistic goal-setting.

Define the measure.

Once your goals have been determined, you will be able to think about how you will measure the outcome.

Performance measures should be as explicit as your goals, and answer the following:

It is an old saying but true: you cannot manage what
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Risking it All by Resting on Your Laurels

In ancient times, conquering heroes were crowned with wreathes of laurel, giving rise to the idiom to rest on one’s laurels, meaning to bask in the glory of past achievements. When it comes to acts of bravery, one may indeed rest on one’s laurels without fear. However, with respect to implementing change, resting on one’s laurels is a Very Bad Idea. One must guard against the temptation to view the project as over and done. After the fanfare of an effective implementation has faded, the goals of your initiative are at risk unless you have an action-oriented sustainability process in place.

The good news is that this can be done with small steps, consistency, and attention to detail:

Maintain documentation. How often have you looked for information only to find that the only available documentation is three years old and woefully outdated? Assign people—and hold them accountable—to keep documents such as policies, procedures, training materials, and system specifications current. This is particularly critical when members of the original project team leave the organization and new employees are hired. Don’t rely on tribal knowledge.

Provide continuous communication and training to everyone who is affected by the newly installed changes. Proactively distribute news and tips via email distribution lists. Get on the agendas of regular meetings. Post information on your organization’s intranet site or internal portal. Thoughtfully consider if new training modules need to be offered as the system develops. Offer refresher brief training or “lunch and learn” style sessions to address knowledge gaps.

Keep business leaders engaged with updates, issues, and progress, especially after the project governance structure has disbanded. An information vacuum can leave management wondering, “What did we get for that expensive change initiative we launched last
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With A Little Help From My Friends

By |September 30th, 2013|Categories: time|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

In my travels, I try to pick up tidbits to help me be more effective at managing projects. We’ve all seen the various tools, techniques, methodologies, etc. to help us deliver against The Big Three: cost, scope and time—but is that really all there is? The funny thing about projects is that success is declared despite most of the project participants knowing that the outcome was somewhat less than successful. Why is that? You hear things like, “It came in on time, under budget and was executed exactly as documented in the requirements.” So it must have been a success, right? And yet there is an unspoken disappointment because it’s not really entirely what was envisioned.

The other day, I ran across a great piece by Gartner about improving project success. Its premise was that if you focus on three things—Partnership, Requirements and Resources—you can really increase the probability of a successful project outcome. Wow! . . .something different from The Big Three!! I was easily able to relate requirements and resources back to the big three, but what about partnership? The formal definition of “partnership” (courtesy of my dictionary) was of little use, but when I looked at its synonyms, I found words like alliance, collaboration, connection, relation, and union. And that’s when it hit me. Partnership doesn’t relate to the big three but rather comprises the foundation that enables us to deliver on them. Without true partnership, project realization or the ability to deliver the expected value from the project is unlikely.

This should have been obvious considering the successful projects I’ve participated in and led. It was partnership at all levels that helped drive realization. From various IT organizations to external partners to
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