Have you even been part of a project that was taking much longer than anticipated? Whether it’s a pilot project or a corporate initiative, sometimes this tardiness can be called “scope creep.” It’s when the time to produce the project is going beyond the anticipated project scope and timeline. If you have been part of a project like this, then you know what I am talking about when I mention that it is a drag on employee morale and productivity. As someone who has been part of several pilot projects in my career, I have experienced the highly efficient projects to the crash and burn ones as well.
When you are in the midst of a project that is running like clockwork, it is so nice to be able to associate yourself with it. The success of it provides energy to the project team that makes those late nights bearable. On the other hand, projects that are never meeting projected timelines and are continually pushed back give everyone involved in it a sense of “this will never work, why should I put forth the effort?” This is a dangerous place to be if you are an employee or subcontractor working on the project team.
“Don’t get stuck in a pilot too long. The ‘toe in the water’ needs to quickly be followed with all-in. If you always dabble, it will be a failure.”
-Don Bulmer – VP Communication Strategy, Royal Dutch Shell
Quote Source: Altimeter
What I like about this quote is it places tremendous value on the urgency of the “all-in” mentality. In business, urgency typically resides in startups. However, companies that are more mature in their growth also experience urgency, and that requires highly focused leadership and a project team leader that is driven and focused. If the company is not providing support and buy-in from the top, the “dabble” that was mentioned in the quote will soon turn into failure. Trust me, that’s the last thing you want to experience. It is demoralizing to your staff and costly to the bottom line.