It Doesn’t Need to be a Perfect Plan to Start!

I was working with a potential new client on an initiative they’d been considering for over a year.  It was a manufacturing process technology they knew would add value and drive efficiency to their operations.  But alas, they never got past the initial discussions.

I was asked by someone I knew at this company to come in and help get things off the ground.  If I was lucky, they’d ask me to lead the initiative!  Score!!

For 2 hours we discussed the problem they had with the current software, the opportunity and efficiencies they’d gain with the proposed solution, and a few high-level requirements.  One frustrated manager, however, said all this had been discussed for the past year, so why was it being rehashed again?  Good question!  Can someone enlighten me also?

Before management approved the software purchase, they wanted a perfect plan.

When I asked for the definition of a “perfect plan”, they said an exact start and exact end date with full details in between, including all the people that would need to be involved and the day(s) they would be needed.  That way, management could do vacation black-outs for those employees now.  They could also plan other releases around go-live.

Hmm, so if you haven’t bought the software yet and don’t know the vendor’s engagement model, how can you create the perfect plan?  What about staff turnover?  Since we haven’t talked to the vendor, how would you know all the groups and people needed?

After these and a few more questions, I was thanked for my time, left, and never got a call back.  In all honesty, it was probably best I didn’t.

Remember, there is no such thing as a “perfect plan.”  Some plans are better than others, but ultimately challenges will arise and trade-offs will need to be made.  Gather as much information as is available at the time and ensure the right people are engaged.  Your plan won’t be perfect, but they never are!

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