How often have we sat after a bad project/decision and say "where did it all go wrong"? This analysis usually is full of hand wringing, blaming of some outside source, or even the famous 'beats me'.
This form of post-mortem is not effective, because it isn't focused. Here is a quick tip:
The most critical of decisions happen in the first five minutes of the action.
We often don't stop at the beginning of a project, or even of a decision, to evaluate the following:
- Is the project/action worth doing?
- Do we have a chance for success? What will make it a success?
- What assumptions are we making that should be tested?
- Who are the people involved (internal/external) that must be successful for the project/decision to be successful?
MOST IMPORTANT: Should I go left or right?
I recently was in city on a business trip, and was trying to get back to the hotel. I was so confident that I had it down. If I only had paused to make sure that first turn was a good one - but instead I turned left instead of right. I got lost, and the rest you probably have experienced yourself. Wasted time, anxiety, and more wrong turns.
This may sound silly, but the point is that the first step is the most crucial. To head in the right direction. Before making that next big decision, starting that next crucial project ….Take a second, pause, evaluate where you need to end up and simply say "is this the right direction?"
David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (www.ideateinc.com). David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation. @dhaynestech.