Posted by: kerrywills | October 19, 2018

Notice the leaves

I was driving in this morning to work. It is the same drive I have done every morning for over eight years but today I noticed that the leaves were changing colors. They were yellow, orange and red and this made me happy to see the beauty of fall in New England. It reminded me that it is important sometimes to step back from our daily routine and notice the things that are all around us.

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On our projects we also get into a routine of meetings, updates and presentations and we don’t often take a pause to reflect on our accomplishments or the talented people that we work with. It is also important to let people know that they are appreciated and that they have completed significant work and milestones.

So we need to remind ourselves to take these breaks and notice the leaves once in a while.

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Posted by: kerrywills | October 12, 2018

Plans often change

We had a family vacation planned for this last weekend to go up to New Hampshire to see the leaves changing colors and do some hiking. It was Columbus Day weekend and the kids had Monday off from school. Our plan was to leave when they got home on Friday and make the 4 hour drive north to arrive around 7pm.

Well the plan did not work out as expected. We hit traffic the entire way up including a road closure, other people heading there for the weekend and the baseball playoffs in Boston. In the end, it took us nearly 7 hours to make the drive up and we were exhausted when we arrived.

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As with our work, we can have good estimates and plans but there will always be unexpected issues which need to be resolved. And sometimes you just have to sit there and wait for them to pass

 

Posted by: kerrywills | October 5, 2018

Effort and Duration

I am often encountering situations that remind me that there is a difference between effort and duration. For example, on my current initiative we needed to get approval for consultants to support our work. It is critical work and we need the resources on site as soon as possible. In this case, the EFFORT to get approval was a five minute conversation but the DURATION lasted three weeks due to prep meetings, reviews with sourcing and negotiating the wording of the contract.

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Many times if we want the DURATION of an activity to be reduced, we have to put extra EFFORT into following up, preparation and work. It is also important to manage expectations on the difference when asked how long something will take. Most people are asking about DURATION when they ask for thisĀ  so we need to be clear. BTW this post took about 5 minutes of effort to write, but sat in my backlog for almost one month (duration).

Posted by: kerrywills | September 28, 2018

Opinions don’t make progress; visions do

I have been involved with several initiatives in my career which have had components with various successes and failures. I was discussing this with a colleagues and we came to the conclusion that the primary contributor in these scenarios was having a leader with a clear vision of the work.

One initiative I was on several years ago at a prior company which had several workstreams. A few of the workstreams which were successful had strong leaders with a clear view of what they wanted to accomplish and how to get there. There were also workstreams which were not as successful as a result of not having clarity of scope, approach or direction. These other initiatives had leaders who definitely had opinions and who were engaged, but didn’t necessarily have a clear vision for the work. This was a good case study since the initiative involved a lot of the same team members and organizations with the primary difference being the leaders running the initiatives.

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So, it is not enough to just have opinions. Initiatives need a clear vision and a leader with the ability to articulate it and rally people around it.

 

Posted by: kerrywills | September 21, 2018

Formula for Transparency

For those who follow this blog or read my books, you know I am a big proponent of transparency. This means insight into progress, risks and upcoming planning to ensure successful delivery. I would put forward the following formula..

Structure + Methodology + Diligence = Transparency

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  • First, there needs to be clarity of structure. This includes how work is organized, aligned and reported on which could be based on scope, value or organizational boundaries.
  • Second, a methodology needs to be put in place that organized the key program elements into the structure and provides an approach for how to represent them. This means aligning financials, milestones, value, dependencies, risks and status to the structure.
  • Lastly, there needs to be diligence in updating the tools and techniques laid out in the methodology. This means that team members need to update authoritative sources of information for the work. This is really important because having the right structure and tools is worthless if these items are not updated.

The structure organizes the work which then gets highlighted through the various tools and updated through the team members. The end result is transparency into progress across many dimensions and organized in a logical construct.

 

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