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5 obstacles to flawless project execution

Lou Markstrom | March 23, 2017
How well thought out strategies can be translated into seamless execution


What good is a strategy if you can’t execute it? And what good is it to have a team that is great at execution but there is not a common strategy? In any IT organisation, they must be viewed as two sides of the same coin. We must have both to succeed.

Let’s look at how we translate our well thought out strategies into seamless execution.


Preparation is a differentiator

For as long as there have been strategists and plans that must turn into action to achieve one’s purpose, one of the key success factors has always been preparation.

I believe ancient Chinese strategist and general Sun Tzu said it best in his classic The Art of War when he stated: “The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.

Thus many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat; how much more no calculation at all. It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.”

Winning teams never engage without a plan. Many IT organisations, and companies, have a great strategy. Yet, most fail to achieve the desired results.

Why is that? It’s the old cliché “people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.”

Your IT strategy is really a roadmap for your journey up the IT Maturity Curve. Your preparation will lead to your ability to execute which will directly correspond to your effectiveness at achieving your desired results.


Break down the barriers

What separates the best when it comes to flawlessly executing our IT strategies?

There are 5 obstacles or pitfalls that you must address and you and your organisation will drive IT farther up the business value chain.

They are:

1. You’re not managing the metrics

We all know that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Metrics not only tell us when we’ve achieved our goal, but they also give us visibility into progress toward that goal. Translate your strategic objectives into measures and corresponding targets.

For example, how about improving customer satisfaction by 4 per cent by the end of the year while reducing the average cost of resolving a ticket by 7 per cent?

Those metrics can be cascaded to your team as performance objectives and tracked throughout the year so you know if you’re on pace to achieve your goals.

2. There’s no action plan

Many leaders have a great strategy but never extend the strategy down to action plans or projects. It becomes ‘management speak’ that doesn’t translate to what team members need to do every day to achieve our goals.


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