This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.
Sunday, October 19, 2003
What's in Your Strategy? -- Yesterday, I was honored to present two topics at the PMI Keystone Chapter's Professional Development Day. The first was an excerpt from my 1- or 2-day CCPM training offerings, which I called "Project Math Myths," a cautionary tale about believing that the estimates in your project schedules add up to anything that suggests a reasonable promise for your project that's really just an excuse to get 30 people to play with dice. Hal touches on a similar message in his posting today which he titled "Warning: This is NOT an accurate representation of how the project will unfold. Yeah, and it's against the law to remove the label carrying that warning. Or at least it should be.
That first presentation I made was done in traditional "work the plan" Powerpoint style, slamming my message into the brains of my audience through carefully crafted slides building my message. For my second talk, I shifted to a hyperlinked process flow chart that readers here should be familiar with. Having been hanging out with the "agile" crowd entirely too much, I let my audience/customers guide which of the boxes and arrows of the picture they saw as priorities to hear about and discuss first. This strategy was meant to mitigate my usual habit of using up all the time alloted (and often more) for my presentation. At least they'd hear the "features" of my presentation they considered "priorities." To tell you the truth, it was more fun for me as well. (hmmm... How about replacing Powerpoint with an html browser for presentations...hmmmm...)
In that second, agile, hyperlinked talk - "Enterprise Project Management - The Links and Loops from Strategy to Project Management, and Back" - after first addressing the audience's priority topic of portfolio management, they asked for my "insights" on strategy as it relates to the strategy through project management processes. My prepared thoughts included a take similar to a recent piece on the topic, but also included a question for the audience..."Who here can explain to me the strategy of your organization and the role of your project in it?"
Out of about 30 people, how many do you think raised their hands?
A) More than 20 of 30
B) Between 10 and 20 of 30
C) More than 1, but less than 10
D) 1 lonely person in the back of the room
If you answered D, congratulations. Scary, isn't it? But before you sprain your shoulder patting yourself on your back, ask yourself the same question.
A bit sobering, isn't it?
It's probably not your fault, but instead the fault of a poorly communicated (or perhaps a poorly crafted, non-communicable) strategy. The next time you run into someone you think should know more about your company's strategy, earnestly pose that question. And keep asking it until you find someone who doesn't squirm uncomfortably and answers it to your satisfaction.
posted by Frank - Permanent Link -