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Readiness: The #1 Predictor of Project Success

By Eileen Strider, Marie Benesh and Wayne Strider

The Vice President was worried. The project to replace their administrative systems was gaining support and speed, but was the organization really ready to start? Could they succeed or would they be added to the litany of organizations with failed software projects? They hadn’t undertaken a major project in years.  They had bad memories from recent past projects involving software packages.  This project was going to change the way the whole organization worked, certainly staff’s job duties and maybe even the organization structure. They were going to have to work together cross-functionally to gain any benefits. There were some seriously broken relationships that were going to be critical to the success of the project. He wasn’t sure how to get straight answers to address his concerns.  What he needed was a PCC Project Readiness Assessment.

In this blog, we are going to shamelessly promote our PCC Project Readiness Assessment.

A Project Readiness Assessment asks the question, “How ready are you and your organization to take on and complete this project?”  In order to answer that, you have to determine what “ready” means.

We look at five key areas that organizations need to address in order to effectively start and complete a project. They are generally areas of risk that can cause havoc as a project progresses.

The areas included in the assessment are:

Executive Sponsorship and Decision Making

We look at how your organization plans to manage project scope, user and stakeholder expectations, and whether you have clearly defined and communicated the project’s goals and objectives. Leadership support and sponsorship are the next areas that we evaluate – how clearly are the leadership roles defined, do the sponsors have a clear set of expectations for their own role and how that impacts the success of the project. In addition, we look for design principles for decision-making, or how decisions will be made. Is this decision-making  policy clearly written and communicated to all stakeholders?

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Working With The Smartest People on Earth

By Eileen Strider

“We are the smartest people on earth; if we can’t build it, why do we think someone else can?”

This is a quote from an RFP (Request for Proposal) we recently received. The organization was looking  for consulting assistance to evaluate, select and implement a software system. The organization will remain anonymous to protect their sacrosanct cultural belief and their reputation. For you see, this organization has already experienced a failed project; this is their second attempt.

You might be saying to yourself “I know this organization”….and you very well might. We have worked with several organizations who believed that they were the smartest people on earth. It’s really not that unusual.

If you were chosen to provide this consulting support, how would you go about assisting them in their project? Where would you focus your efforts? You might be tempted to point out to them the error of their ways on the previous project. Maybe you would try to convince the organization that they were not actually the smartest people on earth. You might try to help them find a software vendor who could prove they were smarter than the smartest people on earth. You have little to no chance of changing this cultural belief. So, good luck using these approaches.

Here’s another way to approach them. Try following their belief that they have the smartest people on earth in their organization and ask some questions that prepare them for their second attempt. Read more

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