How often do we see project healthchecks, appraisals, assessments, audits, reviews, and company breathalyzers where the results are praised by management and then shelved. Perhaps even with the best of intentions:
- Management didn’t agree with the findings
- They didn’t have time to implement the recommendations
- The budget had just been cut
- There was no clear, agreed scope for the review/deliverables/expectations
- Different groups have wildly different ideas of what the findings mean for the organization
- Perhaps the review took too long and the organization had moved on
- Or more likely a combination of the above and others
What is well known in organisations is that a phenomenal amount of money is spent on these reviews and findings – which eventually become shelfware, bookends or doorstops.
Instead, we can take a divergent point of view by looking at the prioritization activities used to direct effort and how they address the underlying problems of an organisation.
Improvement projects consume significant operational staff time. Time spent on improvement activities is time away from product development or customer delivery.
I’ve posted entries before on the topic of improvement prioritization. What is key is to ensure that the projects with the biggest potential impact make it to the starting line.
Of course prioritization can include:
- ROI – reduced cost, improved productivity
- Establishing a base for future products, business, customers
- What can be done now and is appropriate for the type and stage of evolution of an organization
- Whether management and customers are in a position to drive change with acceptable impacts on their business and current projects
- The improvement change will not overcomplicate an already complex set of organizational changes/projects
This reminds me of the EDS commercial of constructing a plane whilst in midair.
We’ll deal with organizational problems and alignment next.