Why? Picasso is reported to have said, It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child. Most Managers, Business Leader and Entrepreneurs have studied their craft but unfortunately have forgotten "How to" go back to basics.
Basics are about stopping wishing things were different, stopping standing up and haranguing staff to "get with the program", stopping the ubiquitous "reorganisation" or "repositioning," and the inevitable staff retrenchments so that someone else's star employee can fill the gap ~ or payroll saving made to make up for the lack of required NEW revenue.
the Project Paradigm
We believe that absolutely nothing happens until you commit to paper, the desired outcome*, with a plan to achieve these outcomes. Then, the critical delivery aspect is, review in a systematic, rhythmic way the tasks, that deliver the milestones on the way to that outcome* that the plan demands.
Everything that requires change can be committed to the project paradigm for delivery. It's just the only way, every alternative is to "fire and hope," demanding outcome change and then relying on others to deliver. They will surely fail unless they, in turn, implement the project paradigm.
Delivering change is not complicated like rocket science
like managing and motivating a teenager. The least said the better.
it's as simple as following a recipe that has produced positive change.
This example of a Project office template, has as its object, the rhythmic review of a project. But, the major need here is threefold. To define the project in such a way that it; Motivates those that are involved, attracts and engages those that are not intimately involved, and becomes a "named child" of the population in the enterprise. Then, it must give the Project Initiator space to review the milestone owner(s) and an identical tool for the milestone owners to review the task delivery.
We're not going to go into the intricacies of project management, suffice to say, you may have your own way of managing projects. If not, feel free to download our examples and use them, modify them but the tool is not the critical factor. Diarise, unmissable, consequential review is. This is where many enterprise leader fail, they leave this aspect to others. If you want change, then review and visualise the progress in a digital dashboard. Do this and we guarantee success!
Anatomy of a project
A crucial critical success factor, in our view, is that the project follows our guideline of 5/7. Not greater than 5 milestones and not greater than 7 tasks to deliver that milestone.
- the Project Initiator, calls a Project Definition Workshop (PDW) and ensures that the executive vision of the target for delivery is accurately captured by the core project team (the terms of reference)
- as an outcome of the PDW, the milestones are defined, not "set in concrete" but in a general way. these are then confirmed once the milestone owner(s) have completed their initial plan.
- the project initiator introduces the project team to the whole enterprise and emphasises in broad terms the "terms of reference", the "Outcomes Target" and especially breaks down for everyone their benefits coupled to enterprise benefits that a successful project will deliver,
- the milestone owners, then call their own task definition workshop and gather the task technicians who will deliver the work which will ultimately deliver the milestone
- the first report back to the project initiator is from the milestone owners*. We believe that all of them* attend this first meeting to gain project cohesion. The object here is to expose thinking of the overall work of the project and allow the initiator space to verify and direct changes if any.
- the work of the project starts with the task technicians building the systems and actions to deliver the milestone(s). They are reviewed by the milestone owner using the project office template.
- the milestone owners are reviewed by the project initiator on their progress towards completion. In our view this is a perfect time to build a digital progress dashboard and display it to the organisation as a whole.
our Sales Pipeline project
A current client is too busy with other things to define their change projects. They have a wish list and one of those wishes is; double revenue from xxx.xx to yyy.yy by etc., etc., they even used the S.M.A.R.T. definition. Lovely, but unless they define&review the project in a rhythm with consequences, they will not have change. Here is an attempt to define what they need to do in their sales process, by definition, the heart of which is an operating, implemented and managed sales pipeline.
We like to use these five steps to (demonstrate) delivering a suspect to the revenue generating outcome, a delivered and paid for product or service that delights the new or returning customer. You could argue, that FIND is part of marketing, but if you have no suspects then you can't convert anything into revenue. It could also be argued that DELIVERY is part of the logistics, the back-office engagement activity.
Mostly, there are others, not salespeople, that are responsible for suspects-&-delivery, but there is an accountability for the salesperson here. To be "on-top" of the raw opportunity-&-delivery activity, to know about hang-ups before the client and ensure that what is delivered closely resembles what they promised during the sales process. This is, after all, the place when they gain credibility through delivering exactly what the client ordered, on budget & under time & meeting quality expectations. This is prime space to sell again, or receive referrals to someone else that this customer can influence with their "wow" of the fulfilled transaction.
These then are our milestones and now to define the tasks that must be done to deliver that milestone. This work is by no means definitive, but meerly offered as an example of tasks in each milestone that will deliver that milestone in a repeatable, quality and quantitive way. These tasks could be completely customised for your context.
activities to deliver each milestone
- define a system. to "talk" to suspects that fit our perfect customer profile
- nurture until suspect shows readiness to engage
- understand the volume of suspects needed to support outcome target
- keep statistics of suspect to lead given to sales process
- apply the go-no-go qualification profile
- build a league table of A&B, C category suspects pass A to sales process
- keep statistics of suspect/lead. Meet marketing to confirm/increase quality
- present "we want to/they want to" do business profiling to sales management
- analyse the clients needs and innovate our offering to build differentiation
- involve our experts like; pricing; design; governance; risk; to build a solution
- do a dry run with members of the customers buying centre
- hone offering/quote to enhance differentiation
- define a strategy to stay involved during "death valley" once the quote/proposal is in their hands
- understand the buying cycle; end-game date & time with client actions required
- forecast win/loss using "transaction survey" questions;
- have a plan to stay involved
- own a project definition with back-office to set delivery expectations
- set up "notice by exception" to be aware of out of line flags
- keep involved with client against a set plan, and be there for acceptance
NO Funnel™ means no losses in the process
This is a very basic list of the tasks required to pass the suspect/opportunity from one bucket to another to make sure that, the object passed on, meets quality, quantity and repeatability criteria YOU set & demand for the whole process.
The project is defined (QUANTIFIED), the milestones and their owners are working on delivery and the technicians, the salespeople, are involved in defining the tasks in each milestone. Everyone has skin in the game, and the executive, when kicking off the project, highlighted what increased revenue would mean for everyone, including the increased commission for the salespeople. Everyone wants this to succeed, even non-involved employees are asking "how is the project going", or standing in front of the graphic representation of ratios like; suspect : leads : converted sales! (ORCHESTRATION)
Ha ha, talk about peer pressure, no executive pressure needed! The project is delivered but, now innovation starts. Simply having it in place and managing compliance is not enough. The ratios that it is producing are watched like a hawk. Not only must they meet our benchmarks but their "trend" must be positive. If not, that part of the overall project has to be innovated to comply. Only then, will the executive be able to sit back and see that they have created positive change.