This is a continuation of a new blog series that I started last week, which will run over the next couple of months.  As a brief refresher, my goal is to write a blog on one habit per week, so technically we should get through all 7 habits in just shy of 2 months.  The content for this series has been developed over many years and hundreds of client projects.  In fact, in addition to applying the habits to all of our client projects, we often speak on these habits as part of a larger session we call “CPR”, where we discuss project rescue and how projects can avoid having to be rescued.  The ultimate goal here is to present these habits in a short and succinct manner, so that you can have clear takeaways to immediately put into practice on your projects. 

If you arrived here and have not yet read the first blog in this series, I would encourage you to start there.  I have provided a link below to the first habit that we looked at last week.

Habit 1: Chart Your Journey

So, without further ado, let’s jump in to the second habit. 

Habit 2: Stay The Course

imageIn Habit 1, I used the analogies of a road trip and knowing where you’re going, in order to make the habit relevant.  If you’ll allow me to continue using the road trip analogy, I’d like to do that in this next habit as well.  The fact is, once your trip (or project) is underway, there will always be unexpected “adventures” along the way (trust me, it always helps to think of these as adventures!).  A speeding ticket, a closed highway, a freak snow storm – or – a key member of the project team leaves, a new CIO is hired, a merger…you get the idea.  Obviously, as stated above, these are unexpected and therefore often unavoidable challenges adventures in many projects.  However, in addition to these items, there are also many opportunities to veer off of course, not due to the unexpected, but due to completely avoidable items such as forgetting the definition of success, lack of focus, an individual personality, or a new technology coming to market. 

Think you’re immune and that “This will never happen to my organization!”?  Unfortunately, in our experience we’ve seen it happen to the very best organizations, which is where this habit comes into play.  No one has the intention of taking a cross-country road trip to Santa Monica, only to end-up in Fargo (no offense), or worse yet, to simply stop driving somewhere in Arkansas (again, no offense), and say, “Let’s do something else now.”  At the end of the day, technology projects are no different.  My guess is, you started the project in order to actually finish the project (and on time and under budget would great too!).  Sure, there will be times to stop and rest, times to regroup, times to fill up the tank, time to check the map (see Habit 1), but having spent so much time, energy and investment to start the project, do everything within your power to stay on course and “work the plan.”

What should you do about those unexpected items that will inevitably pop-up?

  1. Keep your sense of humor and truly see them as adventures.  No, seriously, it can be done.  Life is full of challenges, and for most of us, work is a part of life.  Enjoy work, even when the unexpected appears.
  2. Determine how or if the unexpected item even changes the project.  In many cases, it’s simply a “speed bump”, so use this as an opportunity to catch your breath, and keep moving.
  3. Make every attempt to STAY THE COURSE.  Unless your underlying strategy and vision has changed, continue on the course that you set forth, and you (and your team) will be happy that you did.

I hope this second habit has been helpful and relevant.  Again, the goal is to keep these short and sweet, so my desire is that you will be able to take away a few nuggets of wisdom and experience from this series.  Stay tuned for habit three next week!

For more information on C5 Insight or this blog entry, please Contact Us.