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Are You Stuck in Neutral?

Neutral Are You Stuck in Neutral?

By Dan Licht (@thedvl)

What do you do when a project is stuck in neutral?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and it percolated up to the top of my brain this morning when I was watching MORNING JOE on MSNBC. The panel was discussing President Obama’s plan to meet with the Senate today to discuss options for moving healthcare reform forward.

It

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Neutral

By Dan Licht (@thedvl)

What do you do when a project is stuck in neutral?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and it percolated up to the top of my brain this morning when I was watching MORNING JOE on MSNBC. The panel was discussing President Obama’s plan to meet with the Senate today to discuss options for moving healthcare reform forward.

It struck me that Obama’s situation is one that’s shared by a lot of executives in business. He’s got a big project/objective and it’s implementation is being slowed down by internal bureaucracy. And the longer it sticks around, the more opportunities there are for “feature creep” (in this case amendments and entitlements) to cripple the project completely. It seems like there is a “window” for this type of big project and if it isn’t implemented/developed/realized in that time, then the odds for a successful completion seem to go way up.

It’s actually been a concern of mine as I participate in Zemoga’s strategic planning processes for 2010. We’re planning to implement a number of big initiatives and I’m worried about how I’m going to allocate my limited resources to get all these projects completed. At the same time, I’m worried that if a project isn’t started within a certain time frame then other projects and day to day business will take it’s place on our collective radar.

So I’m officially telling my team that 2010 is going to be “the year of the Beta”. I know that there are going to be too many demands on our time and talent to create pitch perfect products and tools. But I also know that when you’re getting snowed under, you may want a snow blower but you’ll settle for a shovel. The important thing is you’re able to keep the driveway clear.

I also have faith in my team. I know that once we start using a tool, my guys will come up with numerous suggestions for tweaks and improvements (and that they’ll go above and beyond the call to implement them). Call it “internalized crowdsourcing”, call it perpetual development, but it’s a way to get the ball rolling and make sure that projects don’t turn in to vaporware.

I’ll keep our blog readers updated on our progress over the course of the year. And hopefully, you’ll be able to use some of these products and tools yourselves.

Are there initiatives within your organization that are stuck in neutral? Can you use the “beta model” to get things rolling again?

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