In our previous blog we discussed strategy as a GPS and how that GPS will help deliver business results. There is a starting point and a destination with a calculated best route to get to that destination. Just like any road trip, when a strategy gets put in motion, there are bound to be detours. Some of these detours are unnecessary and can be avoided.
There are several reasons that companies take detours when executing a strategy. Resources become constrained; there may not be enough people to handle the additional project workload, resources may not have the skill set to implement new technology, or priorities may not be clearly defined so that people are working on the right things. Managing scope is critical to staying on the right path. It is impossible to stay on the right road when the destination is changed or to stay on schedule when new stops are added to the route. Poor budget management can lead to detours. Inaccurate forecasting will get your project off on the wrong foot. If you plan to drive from Pittsburgh to Denver but only have enough gas money to get to Chicago and back, your trip will not be successful.
These detours can be grouped into three common causes:
- Lack of executive sponsorship
- Undisciplined execution
- Ineffective management
Each of these causes can be avoided. Lack of executive sponsorship is like having a backseat driver. The GPS is telling you to turn left but the voice in the backseat says to stay straight; detours will be unavoidable if you listen the the wrong directions. Undisciplined execution is entirely ignoring the GPS. In Part I we mentioned going to Toronto. Without discipline in execution, we could just head north because we know Canada is north. We may or may not end up in Toronto. Managing strategy effectively goes hand in hand with disciplined execution. This is where the GPS continues to verify your location and validates that you are on the right path. A defined project methodology, empowered project managers, engaged resource managers, and consistent reviews of progress bring the necessary management and discipline to be successful. Check out J&M Strategic Consulting’s method page to learn more on how we can help you stay on course, http://jm-strategic-consulting.com/method.html/.
There are detours that are unavoidable. IT strategy needs to be flexible enough to stay aligned with business goals. When a bridge is out, your GPS needs to be able to get you safely to the other side. An IT strategy in support of and aligned with the business will need to change as business priorities change. For example, if the business has a goal to increase sales with the use of a new sales lead tool then finds there is a greater opportunity in supply chain efficiency, the IT strategy needs to adjust to the new destination. Once the new route is determined, make sure to utilize change management so the the new destination is communicated and the reason for the detour is transparent.
If you haven’t had a chance to read part one of the trilogy, you can find it here, https://jmstrategicconsulting.com/2016/07/16/is-your-gps-dialed-in/. In the last part of the trilogy we are going to answer the question How often should you update your GPS?