Right now, projects face more obstacles than ever. Companies accustomed to working in person have rapidly moved to having remote teams. We have nothing but uncertainty in terms of economic stability, project budgets, and what tomorrow looks like.

Short of a crystal ball, having a trusted core team can mitigate many of these challenges. That team can minimize ramp-up time on a project and keep you from wasting time policing, parenting, and working to build trust so you can focus on what’s important: the project.

Your core team is your seed crystal, with which you can build bigger and better…

Originally published on Blue Skies Insights.

In what ways has your business strategy had to shift rapidly this year?

Likely, you had to set up new remote work capabilities and create policies for doing business remotely. That also required a shift in how you manage human resources.

You may have needed to assess new security concerns, determine how to mitigate risk for technology assets located offsite, or restructure supply chain operations.

And projects? Ha. They’ve likely been paused or rebooted as a result of the topsy-turvy year we’ve had.

Saying you need to roll with the punches is an understatement…

The more your team shares the same understanding about the objectives of your project, the less risk you carry. The wisdom of crowds has a place in driving project success because the more every team member is aligned to the common purpose, the more they’ll think about potential failure points, cross-functional breaks, dependency failures, etc., rather than working in silos. And that, in turn, minimizes the risk of everything going off the rails.

But how do you get as many people as possible — each with his or her own point of view and priorities — to see the big…

This was originally published on Blue Skies Insights.

Did you ever hear this proverb?

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.

For want of a horse, the rider was lost.

For want of a rider, the battle was lost.

For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The parable is unreasonably apt to business transformation projects. A single missing status can cause the entire initiative to fail.

What Causes Failure in Projects?

Before I share my anecdote, let’s talk about failure for a minute…

This was originally published on Blue Skies Insights.

We’ve all been in those meetings: one minute you’re listening to a status update…the next, you start thinking about where you want to go for lunch.

The problem with holding a one-size-fits-all meeting is that everyone absorbs information differently. Everyone has a different movie playing in their heads while you’re leading the meeting.

Don’t assume you have a monopoly on their attention.

It’s Not What You Say…

Here’s a truth I have learned after attending and leading thousands of meetings: the value of communication isn’t what you say. It’s what people hear. …

This was originally published on Blue Skies Consulting Insights.

When you have two entities, you have two differing opinions. Two sets of goals. Often these don’t align, and as a result, you have a clash.

Nowhere is this more apparent than during a business transformation that involves technology. When Business and IT stakeholders silo themselves apart, delays and misunderstandings inevitably arise, as do tempers. There is the predictable finger-pointing, as well as the persistent constant challenge to accomplish anything effectively in a way where both sides are happy.

Ultimately, it’s the project that suffers.

The Problem with Tribalism

When you let people take sides…

“Who’s to blame for this $#%!up?”

The director stomps around the office, looking for someone to own the failure that has gotten the project off course. Everyone cowers at their desks, not wanting to maintain eye contact, lest the blame lands on them.

We’ve become a defensive finger-pointing society. We look for excuses to problems, and often, especially in project management, that wastes precious time.

What I have seen work infinitely better is leaning into responsibility and cultivating a culture of accountability within your project team. One key strategy that increases your chances of success is to have, for every…

This was originally published on Blue Skies Insights.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: your project experiences a little hiccup one week, but you’re sure you can get ahead and still make your deadline.

Only that one hiccup causes a ripple effect, and by the deadline, you’re still behind.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The problem that so many projects suffer from is that the focus is constantly on putting out fires every day rather than being proactive in planning the project from the start so that you actually finish on time. …

Alec Talan

Director and General Counsel of Blue Skies Consulting, where he leads the West Coast practice and the Program Leadership and Digital Strategy service lines

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