Project Priming involves upfront preparation processes you and your team engage in prior to selling. In advance of designing. Ahead of sourcing. Before hiring.
It’s like painting a room.
Most of you have taken shortcuts when painting a room. I know I have. Your relatives are visiting next weekend; you need to spruce things up. You regret your haste once you view the finished product. Hindsight tells you: prime before you paint. You know better.
Streamline overall efficiency. Enhance the quality of the painting process. Prime the surface before you paint. The same holds true when executing strategy.
Project priming is critical to business process management and operational efficiency.
Haste can, literally, make waste. KPI’s with evaporating expiration dates always seem to override professional experience, wisdom and logic. When you and your team avoid or reduce time spent on “priming” or “preparing” before you “paint” and “execute”:
- Timelines are prolonged and project milestones are delayed due to problems with design drawings and materials sourcing. What happened to increasing efficiency?
- Sales cycles are stalled and eventually derailed because your team did not take the time to identify gatekeepers, priorities and decision makers. What happened to streamlining your sales process?
- Hiring processes are rushed in order to fill head count rather than emphasizing corporate cultural fit and cross-functional skillsets. What happened to mindful human resources practices?
Consistently high-quality execution of strategy incorporates project priming processes into solid operations and business process management practices.
If everyone feels like they are operating ad hoc without a safety net, you have problems. At least once a quarter, review the documented business and operations processes you have as guidelines when executing strategy. Do these processes include time for effective project priming activities? How have those project priming activities changed since the last time they were reviewed? Focus on continuously reviewing and incorporating per-project learning and oversight into your business and operations processes.
Consistently high-quality execution of strategy utilizes project priming processes to identify and root out autopilot mindset.
You can’t have effective business processes if your people are on autopilot when executing strategy. If processes become rote to employees, details can slip through the cracks. Regardless of similarity between projects, each project is unique. Each project is executed at a different place in time. Each project deserves to be scrutinized with a fresh set of eyes and ears. Team-based project priming activities keep everyone alert and engaged throughout the entire project. No one has the option of working by themselves. Everyone benefits by injecting fresh insights and learning into each project, no matter how many times you have repeated it.
Determine the impact project priming has on your business outcomes.
If you are losing more contracts than you are winning, what critical operational processes are you overlooking which impact business-building outcomes? If you are winning repeat business, but are unable to acquire new customers, how can you better utilize internal resources to plan a more effective account entry strategy? If your company keeps attracting members of yesterday’s workforce instead of cross-functional, savvy personnel tailor-made for tomorrow’s marketplace, when will you update your human capital strategy?
Project priming can have a positive impact on business productivity and profitability.
Small steps can add up to a big impact over time. I’m talking about:
- a little extra upfront research;
- a few more internal team meetings;
- a continuously proactive client communication strategy; and
- a company culture fostering collaboration.
Target creating a company culture where everyone gets to the finish line together. That means working together from the start of a project. Of course, every project starts by team engagement in solid project priming processes.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a strategist, coach, analyst, author and blogger. Her focus: the interrelationship between teams, leadership and culture in technology and manufacturing. Her Workshops and Professional Coaching Tune-Ups focus you and your teams on context, clarity and confidence in the execution of strategy. Babette’s Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.