It’s a common place to say that if you want to succeed there are things that have to be done. But, by focusing only on actions and forget thinking, the risk of doing hudge mistakes is obvious, that’s why so many opportunities are wasted. To succeed, you also need to have answers. Answers that allow you to go from one step to the next one. Answers that make you sure you’re not managing the wrong project. Answers you’ll have to provide to you boss to prove you’re not throwing his money through the windows and that your project desserves funding and his active sponsorhip.
At each step of your project, you have to wonder if you have the answer to some key questions. If you don’t, slow down and take the time to find it instead of insisting in a direction that may be wrong.
If we assume that a project is made of 3 phases, exploration (when you try to understand a new phenomenon,), pilot (when you validate what you thought you have understood) and industrialization (when you scale things up to make them company-wide), here a 10 questions you must be able to answer to.
There is not always an only right answer. But an answer is needed. When the choice is between “yes” or “not” I let you guess what is right one and what the other means…
1Â°) At the end of the exploration phase
What are the tools I’m planning to use do and don’t do ? More precisely, what are they designed for, and what aren’t they designed for.
Do I have any idea of how my project will change the way people work ? Can I visualize what the workplace will look like then ? And am I ready to assume.
Can I demonstrate the project’s impact on the value chain, on value creation, on people’s efficiency ? (At least theorically)
2Â°) While running pilots
Are the contents and information published and shared by “real” users or by people who have been assigned this task to make things look busy.
Have I formalized and shared the expected “outcomes” ? And checked they made sense in people’s day to day work ?
Am I sure that the purpose of people that play a part in the project (whether internal or external) is to deliver these outcomes or to make enough noise in the tool to deserve their pay ? Does the use of the tool have become the project’s goal to the detriment of operational objectives ?
Have I organized the way how the expected social interactions and what they’ll produce will be reused for business purpose (ex : how an idea will become a project, how people will be able to access and reuse their peer’s knowledge, how one will be able to mobilize peopleÂ found through these interactions…)
Did I thought about “social routine” with managers, and began its implementation ?
3Â°) In the industrialization phase
Do I have concrete indicators that measure social logic’s contribution to business (lenght of the innovation cycle, lenght of the sales cycle, turnover, number of best practices formalized, meetings avoided, ideas gathered, lenght of the decision making cycle, decrease of the time spent by managers to connect people together…)
Do I have examples of things that would not have happened without the project ? And what was their impact.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list but I’m sure that the inability to provide the answer to one of these questions (or provide the wrong one) may have painful consequences one day or the other while taking the time to think about it at the right moment would prevent from future disappointments.