Monday, January 21, 2008

Dilbert--Common Sense Project issues

Day to day I am reminded of the mix of projects that come and go. Some succeed and some merely exist for years. I have seen good ideas get squashed and bad ideas drain companies of time and resources. It's this mix of success and failure on the projects that I see that often makes me wonder why this happens.

I can list all the standard reasons for the failures on projects like:
1. No management support.
2. No funding.
3. Bad timing.
4. It was a bad idea to begin with.
5. Some other group didn't want us to succeed.
6. Market shifted-- could be the same as #3.
I'm sure there are more reasons but I'm hoping to make a point here.

Overall, I think what companies do that creates the seed for these excuses and what seems to be wasted effort is the lack of vision. I can't tell you how many projects that I work on where there seems to be some fuzzy picture of what we are supposed to do. Even worse there is confusion on what we are trying to accomplish!
I would bet 90% of all meetings in the corporate world could be eleminated if each manager understood clearly what their boss expected from them.
I guess its like the old telephone game as a kid with tin cans and a string. What is heard at the end is never what was said at the beginning.
How can this be improved?
#1. I guess we could all work for Steve Jobs. This is my assumption but Apple seems to put out new products that succeed and fail. But that seems to be ok for them. Other companies seem to be too scared to try new things because of failure and because of the shareholder wrath.
#2. I think it really means we have to find companies that understand the value of building new products and learning from the success and the failures. Both have equal value!

I know this process will probably never be improved for some companies. My only hope is to make sure I don't add to it as a manager or business owner.

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