In helping you get focused, get on track, and get back to profitable growth this blog is part 5 of a 12 part series providing more detail supporting the Business Change Flow presented on my web site, Center for Managing Change.

The previous blog in this series talked about 7 Ideas For Staying Sane When You Implement Changes. Now, let’s turn our attention to 7 Important Reasons For Having A Schedule.

The change needed to restore profitable growth must be organized. A schedule is needed, one derived from sound project management whether a traditional waterfall approach or an agile method. The reasons the schedule is important include:

  1. Public Statement of Commitments. The team has a clear sense of key commitments to detail needed for success. Commitments made up and down the hierarchy, whether it is you as the senior manager or owner, or the machine operator working on a functional prototype, or an executive assistant handling document coordination.
  2. Ripple Effects. A source for understanding of the ripple effect each stakeholder creates based on actions they choose. Everyone is on the same page in terms of understanding decisions have consequences.
  3. Public Statement. Public statements of performance expectations in terms of technical- and user acceptance tests.
  4. Rallying Point. Being an important rallying point for team members. The schedule reflects the extent to which there is unity among the members.
  5. A Map for Risk Management Flow. The intentions laid out in the schedule provide direction for making decisions when threats and/or opportunities arise. Rather than decisions being done “Now!” without regards to consequences, the team can show balanced judgement by looking into the future and seeing how decisions today effect work tomorrow.
  6. Barometer of Success. The quality of a schedule is one of the best barometers for determining if your organization is getting back on track for sustained profitable growth.
  7. Visibility and Trust. With a clear schedule clients and other stakeholders can see and follow helps build trust. It shows you and your team walk the walk.

More On The Importance of Commitment. Over the years I’ve found several factors make for a good schedule the most important of which is commitment. This breaks down into several factors. Lack of attention to these factors compromises the schedule dramatically. They essentially boil down to the following categories:

  • Stakeholders
    • Customer
    • Sponsor
    • Senior Managers
    • Functional Managers
    • Vendors/contractors
    • Team members
    • End-users
  • Resources
  • Embracing Change in the Operational environment
  • Allied teams on other projects

A large percentage of projects fail because commitments are missing in any one of these areas. So what is a commitment? Simply put:

“A commitment comprises resources. In other words, when someone says they are committed to the success of the project, program, business plan, company, etc., they mean they will provide whatever is needed to do their part. Anything else is involvement. It’s like bacon and eggs:

The chicken’s involved but the pig IS committed.”

In order to have a credible schedule it is critical to first have a good design effort. To learn more about this read the next blog in this series, 3 Reasons For Having Technical Goals, Test Plans, and Design.

Also, for more information regarding change management and how you can get your arms around it download my free e-book, Mindset – 5 Simple Ways To Look At Complex Problems.