Myth #2: Putting Everything Into The Project Now Is Our Only Chance For Success – Part #1 (Lesson 5)
In the beginning, there was the budgeting process
A phenomenal amount of effort often needs to happen in order to justify the investment required for a transformation initiative. This is then followed by a tortuous budget approval process.
The whole process – from the initial realisation that something needs to change, to getting ‘boots on the ground’ actively working on a project – typically takes months. Sometimes it even takes years. This means that new projects often have to wait for budget to be released in a subsequent Financial Year.
Then, once budget has been released, if the organisation needs to bring in expert external contract resources, the search for them begins. Usually this will be via the prescribed recruitment and procurement channels.
Working around everyone’s normal day jobs, this process can often drag out across several weeks, especially if those resources have existing contractual commitments to work out.
So many steps must be taken to get a project off the ground that, by the time the project management team is on board, a significant proportion of the project’s original time estimate has probably already passed!
The project has barely started, and it is already behind the curve.
Expectations for its completion date have now been set at the executive level. And those at the lower levels in the organisation are unwilling to challenge dates that are now rapidly becoming set in stone.
‘OK, we have budget. Let’s get this thing off the ground!’
Starting a new project is an exciting time. It presents the opportunity to ‘put a dent in the universe,’ as Steve Jobs famously said. This is a time of optimism and big ideas. It is a time to make sure that this thing is a success and has a big impact.
The team pushes nagging recollections of the statistics surrounding project failures to the back of their minds. They begin to corral literally thousands of pieces of information, including:
- Pages of documentation.
- Challenges with existing systems and processes.
- User/customer feedback.
- Untold other variables.
And then they form it all into some semblance of a plan.
Any thoughts or concerns about the – by now – compressed timeframes and fixed end-date for the project are all but forgotten under the enormity of the project initiation tasks.
Everyone focuses on refining the details of what exactly this transformation will deliver to the business. They look at both the impact on people, and the technical capabilities that any technology solutions will deliver.
All too often, they place too much emphasis on the technical capabilities that the system will provide, and too little emphasis on the impacts on people.