Many organizations forget that projects are all about implementation of an idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but it’s the execution of the strategy and the ideas which separate the dreamers from all else. Too often corporations, whether they are implementing an IT project or not, completely ignore the need for proper project planning prior to implementation of their idea.
For many projects, successful strategy is measured by timing and timing is never executed without a proper project plan. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to meet project deadlines regularly, doing so outside the realm of today’s project software opportunities. For those who understand the overall corporate strategy, and whose projects are necessarily aligned, missing deadlines should be treated as a disastrous failure. In some cases, project managers are too focused on minimizing the negative, instead of looking to maximize the strategy and plan for the positive. It some ways, it’s a bit like the glass is half empty/half full scenario.
Here are some key reasons why proper project timing is essential for executing on strategy:
- Competition kills. If your competitors are faster than you and on par, then you are toast. If they are faster and better, it’s project suicide.
- First-mover advantage. While many strategists argue there is often little value in being the first mover (in some cases it can work to your detriment), it is still helpful to execute quickly and then shift strategy, then to fail to execute over and over again. Think of what a difference a year could make on a patent being released. It could mean the difference in huge coin.
- Shorter schedules reduce cost and increase turnover. Why do players like Wal-Mart and Amazon win? They focus on providing low costs to the customer with rapid inventory turnover. The longer you wait to turnover your project, regardless of the project’s type, you are wasting time. Time is money.
So the next time you look at the “critical path” on some Gantt chart within your organization, remember that timing is just about everything when it comes to project planning and implementation. And timing is almost always about strategy and execution.