It seems obvious: initiatives are successful in direct proportion to how ready the organization is to make them a success. But time and time again companies fail to realize full return on their process/technology investments because readiness is improperly defined or not defined at all. Here are 5 things that must be done to guarantee your organization is prepared regardless of the size or scope of the effort.
Audience: Executives who are expecting a return on their process/technology investments; Project Managers who are responsible for delivering successful projects.
Start with one clear definition of success
Different aspects of the effort have different measures of success. Timing, budgets and quality each have different metrics. And still, a project successfully brought in at spec, on time and under budget that fails to be adopted is ultimately a failure. While a late, over-budget, enlarged scope project wildly accepted is deemed a success.
When developing your definition be clear, unambiguous and as simple as possible . Use “Land a person on the moon and bring them back safely.” as your guide to a clear, unambiguous and simple success definition (with credit to JFK).
The Charter or primary organizing document is the best place to memorialize this decision.
Identify everyone who needs to be prepared
Remember that a key group or individual who is not ready can destroy momentum and retard progress.
Augment the project’s Stakeholder List with Readiness info, and review and refine this list during the arc of the effort.
Pay attention to momentum and critical mass
Trying to jam in needed promotion and testing at the tail end of an initiative rarely achieves the same result as a deliberate and steady orchestration of messages over time.
Judiciously apply Just In Time methods to fill gaps.
Continuously test and gauge who is ready and who is not
Understand what each group needs to be ready.
Call it training, instruction, testing, assessment, temperature taking, etc., this activity can move readiness from an assumption to a documented fact.
It will also expose gaps.
Construct the communication plan from the outside-in
Every initiative needs a communication plan. Plans focused on communicating status and metrics typically do not address the social aspects of getting ready.
Do not underestimate the power of social interactions to lift or sink your effort. From water cooler gossip to company blogs, opportunities exist to leverage social interaction.
All communication must anticipate how the audience will interpret the message if it is to be optimally effective – an outside-in approach. If you find yourself hearing or saying – “we need to tell them” the focus is inside-out.
Readiness is the overarching critical success factor that any initiative has. But time and time again companies fail to realize full return on their process/technology investments because readiness is a negotiated or mandated event, rather than an orchestrated and validated precursor to success. The activities above will ensure everyone is ready to achieve success.
Cris Casey helps companies get ready. He can design and conduct all manner of readiness assessments as well as lead targeted risk mitigation efforts to rapidly bring about readiness. If you think you may have issues with readiness, contact Cris through Exertus at +1 866 575-2460 or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.