Failure to Plan
Many project teams are so eager to get on with the “real work” that they short change the planning phase.
Managers that lack experience leading process improvement projects often underestimate the planning effort.
Many leaders fear that a realistic plan won’t fulfill a mandated deadline or expected budget so they simply don’t plan.
Sometimes plans are incomplete because they do not include the implementation phase and training effort. These critical phases are not started soon enough and often under-funded, undermining the over all success of the project.
Many plans do not take into account activities outside project team that must happen in order for project to be successful.
Plan early, thoroughly, and be sure to revisit the plan often. Good planning requires devoted effort and thorough research. By devoting time upfront and one avoids heroics and histrionics later.
Skilled leaders educate themselves about similar projects: Which other companies have done this before? What made them successful? What were their challenges? Find other companies that have attempted similar projects at industry meetings, through the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), vendor white papers, consultants, industry publications, blogs, etc. Learn from others and plan accordingly.
Plans must include roles and responsibilities of project team members as well as other parties that may be involved on an ad hoc basis.
Finally, recognize that business today is highly dynamic and include contingencies in the plan. Expect changes and be prepared to adapt the plan.
This is one of a series of posts on project management for finance professionals. The series features practical project management advice and tips for driving process change using technology. The series is archived here.