In my last post, I made the point that successful project implementation requires that someone who gets the business need implements the projects and that the failure of many digital projects result from the wrong people calling the shots (such as people like me).
The ability to successfully implement projects is an incredibly important skill. In fact Pete Cook in his book The New Rules of Management suggests that “The success of you life comes down to the important projects that you have implemented”.
Although I love Pete’s work and completely agree with the need for strong project implementation, I would also argue that this is actually NOT the biggest problem most organisations face when it comes to digital technology. The biggest problem that most of them face is identifying the best projects to implement.
[tweetthis url=”http://bit.ly/1Pm4EE8″]The biggest cost of all are the opportunities that are missed in the first place.[/tweetthis]
The right projects implemented poorly will ultimately have a bigger impact on the bottom line then the wrong projects implemented well…but the biggest cost of all is the right projects that are never identified and investigated in the first place.
This is kind of important so I will say it again (a little louder):
THE BIGGEST COST OF ALL ARE THE RIGHT PROJECTS THAT ARE NEVER IDENTIFIED AND INVESTIGATED IN THE FIRST PLACE
See, we are used to identifying projects the size of elephants: big meaty projects that would keep the tribe going for months or years. These projects have elephant-sized returns but normally also come with a far higher degree of complexity and danger. Although these projects are still extremely important, if only focusing on the elephants we will miss out on a whole heap of other smaller, easier projects sitting right in front of us. These are the antelope, zebra and meerkat-sized projects that are still nutritious but only require days or hours to implement.
In the digital space, these smaller opportunities have been proliferating at breakneck speed. The splintering of the traditional desktop environment into web based apps means that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of little opportunities to drive productivity and improve the way we work. And each one of these opportunities that is not implemented means that we continue to operate in a way that is more expensive or less effective than might otherwise be the case.
The challenge is, to identify these projects you need digital champions operating at ground level. People engaged in the every day work of the organisation but with the knowledge, skills and awareness to hunt down these opportunities when they emerge. So rather than focusing on the projects that have the biggest returns but are ultimately challenging to implement, why not focus on projects that are easy to implement but still have a reasonable return. And then just do it again and again.
I am currently looking to work with a small number of businesses to help them develop their digital champions. If you are interested to find out what this might look like and the benefits that this could bring to your business please get in touch.