Scope creep killed the project

Although I’m a stickler for Goal Clarity I stumble from time to time over lack of goal clarity that looms everywhere.

The most recent example was with a little IT project that we, my son and I, would accomplish for the business of my wife. Doing business with family members is hard enough but yet we tried. The project had a very clear deadline that was unrelated to the project. That’s where the problems started. In reality you may actually encounter that often, your goals have deadlines. You can play a game of sports and the goals are to get the ball in the opposing teams area but within the time frame allowed for the game.

So to cut it short, we failed and didn’t deliver on time so we’ll have to wait for other opportunities to occur to ever finalize it.

What went wrong?

Scope creep is I guess the right word for it. Impressed with the capabilities of what my son and I could deliver on the web, my wife started to ask for more and more features. Not being knowledgeable at all about the complexity of the system, she never gave a thought to changing a real world project to something in cyberspace. Willing to satisfy her goals and showing our cyber-capabilities my son and I got lost in a race against time and never sat down to review where we were and the realities of the project.

So what could have saved the project?

Scope creep is just another word for lack of Goal Clarity. Not reviewing where you are and not realizing the time it would take to accomplish is also just another case of no Goal Clarity. The solutions are embarrassingly obvious; setting the goals, checking every change against these goals and ensuring the client realizes what it will take to accomplish the goals.


A Harvard psychologist reveals the biggest reason people don’t achieve their goals | Business | News | The Independent

Shooting for the moon is a worthwhile goal if you’re NASA. But as Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy explains in a recent Big Think video, the average person will probably find more success (and happiness) if they shoot for just down the block — at least at first. The biggest mistake a lot of people make in setting goals for themselves, Cuddy says, is that they focus only on the outcome, not the process.

Source: A Harvard psychologist reveals the biggest reason people don’t achieve their goals | Business | News | The Independent

Building a company is a bit like raising a family

Without being paternalistic, there is a similarity between raising your children and getting your employees to buy into your goals and philosophy and work with you in the way you want to run your company.

Like your children, your employees will all have their own personality and ambitions, behaviors and attitudes but to successfully form either a team or a family, you need some shared values that all buy into. If you can have your children buy into the fact their brains need enough rest to become successful, you won’t have to police the bedtime day to day. If you have them buy into what is right and wrong in this world, you won’t have to trace their internet behavior as much.

In a similar way you need to ensure that employees buy into the company’s goals values and culture.

Inspiration motivation quotation Success does not going to you, you go to it  and cup of coffee

Inspiration motivation quotation Success does not going to you, you go to it and cup of coffee

Not all buying into the company’s belief system and culture means that some won’t  cooperate as successful as you would like and you will have to correct, adjust, intervene and change the behavior before it causes confusion with the others. We are not talking about all employees drinking the proverbial “kool aid” but rather all employees understanding clearly what the goals of the company are and in what way you want to achieve them. Everyone is responsible for their part in making it happen and you can’t work with someone who either does not buy into it or is confused about it.

It starts with recruitment. Focus in your recruitment efforts on finding out if your prospects would be able to buy into your company’s culture. Yes you do want diversity of thought to take the opportunities provided by critical and creative thinking but you need to balance it with uprooting the basics of the organization.

Think of a clear example in a company that produces organic food. Yes the non organic food will be cheaper and easier to produce and market but that’s not who you are as a company and if you have employees not buying into putting in the extra efforts to produce and market organic food, you need to change them out for those that can fully support the companies philosophy.

If it is your company’s culture to look forward, share information and report mistakes as soon as possible to learn from it and correct it speedily, you can’t have some that won’t share information or point fingers to apportion blame. That is counter to what you try to achieve and they should either change their attitude or their career choice.

To create and maintain this strong company culture and keep the focus on the companies goals, you need to over communicate it. Not just the occasional newsletter or email but really connecting with people to inspire them to do the same with the groups they are responsible for. You will need to hold people accountable for the steps they take that are not in line with the company’s culture. These things do not have a direct correlation with commercial success. One of your key sales people may not have the right approach in how you want your clientele to know your company and so even if she or he is a great sales person, you may need to change them for someone who is equally capable but works in the way you want to run the company.

Building this accountability in from day one will serve your company well over the years and when executed well can survive scaling of the company to huge sizes.