The slipping of early milestones rarely self-corrects. Teams do not just “catch up” because the urgency has increased. There is a real danger that adding pressure from the top will only result in stopping the flow of reliable information about what is going on. All of this is a sign that team members are not viewing the published plan as something they have committed to. It is very difficult to execute successfully when you do not have real commitments in place to begin with. And, when commitment is missing, so is accountability.
One of our recent clients was a CEO who came into a mature organization that was having on time delivery challenges. Even more alarming, she assessed that there was no discernable process for assessing the status of current projects. This was a fast moving industry, and she did not want to slow things down further with a lot of extra schedule analysis and phase gate procedures. But there needed to be transparency and accountability.
The CEO, her VP of Engineering and the project managers found our commitment-based practices to create a balance of agility and structure. For the CEO, our milestone charts provided a high level view of when to expect things would actually be completed, while revealing any patterns of delay. Project managers were pleased to realize that in the CBPM approach, accountability is not all left up to them. Team members can and should be forward planning and holding each other accountable for week to week deliverables, giving the PM more time to interface with stakeholders and dependencies outside the core team. The project teams also found that the Map Days we facilitated were very helpful in understanding the big picture and the project interdependencies. In the initial Map Day kickoff meeting, team members from different functional areas reported that they had critical conversations with each other that never would have taken place otherwise.
For leaders who are more interested in unleashing potential than overseeing tight controls, Ensemble can give you confidence that teams are progressing and looking forward enough to warn you when there is potential trouble on the horizon. We work with teams at all levels to help them have the right conversations for making and meeting commitments to each other, thereby improving execution greatly.
Contact us for a free consult on opportunities to improve the execution of your organization.