60 Days In…How Do You Know Where You’re Project Is?

Have you participated in a “lessons learned” debrief at the end of a project (or as one of my clients sarcastically called it, “lessons documented”)?

While there are rarely major a-ha moments, one conclusion caught my attention recently: The importance of predicting the future.

I’m sure you recognize that a strong project sets a clear vision of the end goal, but details often remain fuzzy at the start. Without a clear picture of success, it’s near impossible to determine what indicates progress along the way. We need more than measures of task completion and ‘awareness’. 

As we look ahead to the lifting of pandemic restrictions, many of us are watching for signs of true recovery. I’m fascinated by some of the measures that are being used:

  • Sale of dresses – as people anticipate going out again
  • Campsite reservations – because we can’t wait to get out of town
  • Volume of international calls – planning for travel
  • New phone sales – it’s our primary camera for sightseeing

Future thinkers are creative with their predictors. No single measure gives the whole picture, but taken together they illuminate helpful trends.

If your project is on track, what will begin to shift along the way? Consider:

  • Hallway smiles
  • Visits to the coffee machine
  • Mention of the vision during team meetings
  • Number of letters of thanks to…
  • Change in language (terms used or not used)
  • Balance of participation in meetings
  • Budgets shifting in anticipation of coming change

We’ve been quoting Covey for many years: Start with the end in mind. It’s too late to figure out at the finish line that you were heading off the rails. Every strategy and change program needs a substantial mix of leading indicators. 

How are you defining success along the way? Buying a Magic 8-Ball likely won’t help. Pull your sponsor and execs together and get creative. Need help? I’ve compiled 77 indicators that change is taking hold.

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff