Breaking the taboo about failure

Nobody likes an Eeyore. When we’re planning new projects, it’s tempting to focus on the positives and to gloss over all of the things that could go wrong. That’s partly human nature and partly a desire to get the go-ahead to do whatever we want to do. The problem with this, though, is that when things do go awry, as they have an inevitable tendency to do, it can catch everyone very much on the hop.

But what if we could think about project risks without looking as if we’re trying to jinx the whole thing? And what if we could benefit from 20:20 hindsight right at the start? Welcome to the world of prospective hindsight.

Continue reading “Breaking the taboo about failure”

Understanding project constraints

There’s no such thing as the perfect project. Because the perfect project would come with unlimited time, unlimited resources and a big yellow ribbon to tie on top of it when it’s done. But even the best projects run into constraints. We need to identify, acknowledge and consciously manage these constraints. Otherwise, they end up managing us.

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Change you can believe in

I’m all for trying out new things. After all, this is how we develop – both as individuals and as organisations. But changing what we do and how we do it takes both time and effort. And, frequently, money. So it’s important that, before embarking on a new initiative, project or programme, we have a clear idea of what we are trying to achieve, how it will work and how we will know whether or not we have actually achieved it. Continue reading “Change you can believe in”

Using prospective hindsight to manage risk

Nobody likes an Eeyore. When we’re planning new projects, it’s tempting for team members to focus on the positives and to gloss over all of the things that could go wrong. So when the inevitable does hit the fan, it can come as somewhat of a surprise. But what if we could think about project risks without looking as if we’re trying to jinx the whole thing? And what if we could benefit from 20:20 hindsight right at the start? Welcome to the world of prospective hindsight and the project pre-mortem. Continue reading “Using prospective hindsight to manage risk”

Desirability, feasibility and capability

Like much of the public and not-for-profit sectors, several of my clients are currently faced with the difficult choice of which worthy projects and activities are to benefit from their financial support. And as the amount of money available goes down, the decisions get harder. In such cases, it’s vital to have a robust and defensible way of determining which ideas we support and which we have, regrettably, to let slide. Continue reading “Desirability, feasibility and capability”