The other day we were standing in our team huddle we have each morning and talking about our tasks; specifically those that were on the critical path for our project. I got the usual nodding of heads and I'm sure what was running through their mind as, "yeah, yeah, we know we have to get this done". I then used the following illustration and eyes opened wide and I saw recognition of what it really meant when they were on the critical path. Here is the illustration that I used.
Plans are built with the knowledge that we have at the time. We therefore make assumptions about many things in order to complete the plan. When reality becomes different than the assumption that was made during the planning stage, we have decisions to make. This is true for all plans, projects or otherwise. I’m going to explore decisions in the context of managing change and I use projects to manage change.
Have you ever tried to order lunch on the run and found yourself irritated by the number of questions you’re asked just to get a sandwich? ‘Would you like it toasted? What kind of cheese? What kind of meat? Would you like that supersized? How about salt and pepper? ‘ As you fire off the answers you’re thinking to yourself…’Really??? All I want is a sandwich and I’d like it today!’ But imagine what kind of sandwich you would get if you weren’t asked all of those questions and if you didn’t provide the right answers.
Today, people are either excited by the fast pace of change or they are scared to death by it. In fact, some become so scared of change and making the wrong choice, they become paralyzed by the choices in front of them. However, we know that change is going to occur anyway, so wouldn’t it be better to be part of the change rather than merely swept along by it?
Are you having trouble being successful with your operations or project? Are your projects viewed by some as successful but others think you missed the mark? There are a couple of things that could be causing this but it can be summed up in one phrase; failing to define success for each stakeholder before you start. Therein lies the problem; success looks different to each stakeholder so how do you define success for each of them without going crazy? I believe there are three things that will close the gap.
What is the right or correct process? The simple answer to this is the one that works for your organization. Every organization is different and therefore we shouldn’t expect a process to fit all. In fact, processes will always be unique for each organization. Methodologies will be common and used across industries but the processes will be unique to the organization. Both are useful and needed depending on the circumstances.
Many companies, of all sizes, outsource jobs in their own backyard and even all over the world. It is becoming a more and more popular way of accomplishing tasks. People have many different outlooks about outsourcing. Some see it taking away business and jobs from their local community and others see it as a great opportunity to save money and tap into knowledge and skills not available locally. For those of you who are in the dark about outsourcing, let me fill you in. Outsourcing is simply a method of contracting work to an outside party.
After 10 weeks spent 2000 feet below the ground, the last of the 33 Chilean miners reached the surface to cheers from the crowd this past Wednesday. Most of us will never know what it means to survive the harrowing experience these men endured, spending the first 17 days not knowing whether anyone would find them, having to face the fact that they may never be found, and another 53 waiting to see the light of day and their families again.
Bad decisions are easy to find in the business world, we all remember the disaster called New Coke; however, most of us don’t know that M&M’s opted out of Steven Spielberg’s E.T.
More recently we shook our heads in amazement when we heard BP CEO Tony Hayward decided to take a day off and watch his 52-foot yacht "Bob" compete in a race off England’s coast in the middle of the Gulf Coast oil spill crisis.