Assign a single capable person to serve as Project Manager (PM) responsible for the entire project through to completion if one is not already assigned or if the one assigned has proven ineffective. The PM should be someone who has previously been successful in similar circumstances in terms of project scope, scale, and complexity. If someone with requisite experience is not available to serve as PM then arrange for the experienced person to serve as a close adviser to the PM until a new plan is in place and performance relative to the new plan is on track.
Have the PM work with the client, the project team, management, and advisers to pull together a revised plan.Review the plan thoroughly with the PM, the project team, and with outside stakeholders, including the client, to be sure the path to completion, all the way through to client acceptance, is well formulated, understood, agreed to, and sensible.
Many intelliven.com blog posts are based on the slides and lecture notes from a masters class in Organization Development called Organization Analysis and Strategy offered at American University and taught by Peter DiGiammarino. These posts and other material from class, including:
Slide shows, and
are available from Amazon as a softcover workbook or from iTunes as an iBook titledManage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World.
Whether one wants to change personal habits, implement a new information system, improve a business process, get team members to work together, increase a community’s appreciation for diversity, or even to topple a monarchy, taking seven actions driven by seven disarmingly simple truths will individually and collectively help achieve the goal.
Manage to Lead presents a framework to describe and assess any organization. It also provides a structured approach to plan and implement next steps for an organization as it strives for long-term growth and performance.
Readers are invited to select a familiar organization on which to apply the tools and templates introduced throughout the workbook. Exercises in each chapter produce essential elements for the organization’s annual strategic plan and lay the groundwork for implementing that plan.
Readers can package the key elements from Organization Exercises to form a strategic plan that communicates how the organization sees itself and where it is headed. At the end of the year leaders can compare actual results with what was described in the strategic plan to study what happened, why what happened was different than plan, what is to be learned from that, and what to do differently going forward as a result.
Repeat the process over several years and compare actual to planned results year-to-year to see the organization mature, perform, and grow to its full potential.
It is impossible to control what you cannot, and what you do not, measure. For every important thing that the organization does, decide what is most important to monitor and then watch carefully to know how things are going.
If what to monitor is not known then:
Watch everything and whittle away what turns out to not be useful and keep watching what turns out to be useful.
Study similar organizations to learn what they track.
Look up industry analysts and market researchers to find out what they watch.
When participants follow the Six Ps, Board sessions, reviews, operations meetings, design and code walkthroughs, All Hands meetings, interviews, and literally every forum where people convene to discuss a topic, both their individual performance and performance of the group as a whole is greatly enhanced:
Prepare: Read materials sent in advance with enough lead-time to reflect on their content. If you are the meeting owner, make it easy for attendees to prepare, and for you and your team to step-back and develop perspective, by distributing background materials at least two days ahead.
An IntelliVen CEO client recently put it this way: “It s easy to make great progress when you weren’t doing much in the first place” when commenting on the lift in performance experienced after tweaking the approach to running his organization’s weekly Operating Group Meeting.
The motivation was to stop wasting countless hours discussing philosophical and theoretical matters that had little-to-nothing to do with operations and that kept them from getting important work done in their operating meeting up to that point.
The point of his Haiku-like phrasing is that it is not hard to run an organization better…but you do have to work at it.
Every meeting needs to be thought through to get clear why it is being held, what it is to produce, how it will be accomplished, and what outcomes are to be generated (see: How to Run a Great Meeting). A good approach for Operating Group Meetings is for the organization’s leader (e.g., CEO, unit leader, initiative leader, project manager, etc.) to have each functional leader (e.g., head of engineering, head of marketing, etc.) present in literally just a few minutes:
When top leaders are informed, thinking critically, and engaged enough to provide guidance and direction How to connect the Top-of-the-House to the Front-Line, things tend to go pretty well. That is, things get done better, sooner, and more smoothly when leaders pay close attention. This note describes an efficient way for top leaders to get and stay up-to-speed, see and understand what is going on, ask questions and think critically, develop a point-of-view, and provide advice and guidance on their organization’s most important functions, projects, and initiatives. Continue reading How to connect the Top-of-the-House to the Front-Line.→