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Showing posts from May, 2009

Finding a symbol

When change needs to take place, when there is enough need within the organisation, it can sometimes be difficult to prove to others that things will change. We need their involvement after all so we need to get them involved. Completion of a small but visible improvement can provide us with a symbol that it can be done, and that other things can also be achieved. By creating a clear symbol of change we can remind others that we are capable of change and that the situation we are in can be different. Using an approach like this can work well if your team / workforce has 'heard it all before'. Find a small project and make it a symbol for change within your organisation. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Clear specifications

Many projects are started without a clear specification. There may be clear objectives in place, but often some of the detail about what is really required (or needed for that matter) may not be present. In our experience of projects - getting the right level of detail into a specification regarding a system can be extremely difficult. If you look at the results you have been receiving over the past few years, how many of the results that have fallen below expectation have been related to a poor specification? The amount of time that is spent trying to rectify a project can be very large. A concise and specific specification can allow projects to complete in less time with lower costs, if a little more time is spent upfront with the design of the specification and the planning. Is it worth another look? Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Where is the end?

In the haste to get things done there is the risk that projects don’t get properly closed off. Like the machine installation that doesn’t get commissioned, or the meeting that gets concluded without actions being defined. If you look around you will see many activities that haven’t been thought through – reducing the positive impact that they can have. The scope of an activity needs to be carefully considered. Where should the start and finish markers be placed? Without clearly communicating what the finish line looks like we might either not finish the job properly, or not meet our client’s needs. Talking to our clients and colleagues about the finish line can help to establish and develop a clear objective and help to save time and cost in the long term. If you have loose ends to tie up then it may be worth considering what the end point looks like in more detail. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

An excellent plan?

If we recognise the need for change within our business then why does so little change actually take place? One of the reasons is that plans and approaches don’t get agreed upon. With so many factors to take into account we can find ourselves lost with options and the feeling that we must get it 100% right. Whilst I don’t advocate getting it wrong their may be a simple approach to moving forward on our improvement projects (or any other project for that matter). If we can agree on the start of the project – a place to start – then we have the opportunity to make a difference (a tiny difference   in most cases). From doing this we can gain momentum, use newly gained knowledge to define more (or all) of the plan, and very importantly, we can find some common ground with our colleagues to agree on how we move forward. The start of a plan may be all it takes to get projects moving and a business to move forwards. If your business is getting stuck why not give this approach a go?

The next three steps

When improving a specific process or task, where there is not a specified ‘finish line’, it can sometimes be hard to work out what the project plan will look like. This lack of clarity can stall many projects and create unease within the business. The marketing function, for example, may need to become more effective, but how do we approach this? There could be many different ways to tackle the problem and choosing a specific plan could lead us down an ineffective path. One way to navigate this issue is to choose the next three steps and execute them. By only thinking this far ahead you can re-ignite your motivation and learn from these next steps. After a while of doing this (by replacing completed steps with new ones) you will have gained more knowledge about the situation and be able to come up with a concrete project plan. This technique is great if you are getting stuck with projects that aren’t as well defined as we need them to be, or if there is a lack of information on how