January 26, 2023
“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali
Focusing on what is not yet done, rather than the task in front of you? Oftentimes technology initiatives seem daunting, but if you have done your homework and have a solid, attainable plan in place, with the resources to back it up, the best thing you can do is follow the course and make every day count.
Here are a few tips on how to keep focus:
- Plan Ahead – Make sure you have a solid (and attainable) plan from the start. If you simply jump in head first, you may be over your head quickly. Take the time at the beginning of a project to understand the goals, benefit, requirements and resources needed, then set a realistic timeline and budget. Finally, do some investigative work. Talk to colleagues from similar organizations that have gone through the same process and learn from them. What worked? What didn’t? What would you have done differently?
- Get Buy-In – Another project-killer is NOT having backing from the executive team and key stakeholders. If there is hesitation or even resistance, this will trickle down to the masses and make your job harder than it already is. Be sure that all of the key decision-makers and stakeholders understand the project, understand why the organization is undergoing this initiative, the timeline you are working with (what to expect when), how it will benefit the company, and how it will benefit them. Once they understand and accept the importance of the project, you will find that their support propels rather than hinders progress.
- Surround Yourself with the Right Resources – With major technology initiatives, you may be a very accomplished technology professional, but don’t assume you can do everything on your own. There are many moving parts to technology projects from project management, to requirements gathering, design and configuration, testing, training and ultimately going live. In addition, trying to manage the project as well as keeping staff engaged and moving forward is more than a full time position. Identify those key resources within your organization who can take ownership of their areas and engage outside resources such as JDR if your resource pool is too shallow. When you have an entire team working in sync towards a united goal, the burden is no longer shouldered by one individual.
- Follow the Course – Stick to the plan. Take projects, one task, one deadline at a time and work hard to keep everyone focused on the plan. Changes to requirements or adding additional scope mid-project, what we not-so-affectionately call “scope creek” can quickly derail your project budget and timeline. Carefully review and consider change requests, identify how the changes will impact the project (timeline, budget and work already completed) and share this information with the stakeholders. Is the change critical? Is it a show-stopper? Is the resulting impact on the project worth making the change right now? Maybe so. But if it is more of a “nice to have” consider adding this to a later phase and staying on course with your original plan. These can be hard discussions to have, but the fewer changes made the better chances you are to finish on time and on budget.
- Celebrate Your Success – If you have stayed the course, chances are it will result in a successful project. Take time to reflect on what you have accomplished. Also take time to think about what you could have done better. You can count on there being snags along the way, but consider them lessons learned for the next time.
Need a little extra support to lighten the load? JDR Consulting has trained professionals in all of the critical areas including project management, implementation, development and accounting. Schedule a discovery call with JDR in January 2023 and receive a discount of $10/hr on your project quote. (Quotes valid for 30 days.)