Always With The Pre-Read

Companies big and small spend a lot of time and money on complex processes to deliver, to produce. But even the best of these processes are usually the long way around to an answer your gut told you six to eight weeks ago was the right decision. Make no mistake: Not all processes are created equal. Follow the right one and the project moves along just fine; pick the wrong one, and you can kiss those deadlines goodbye.

Ask anyone else who works in my business—Webcasting—and they'll tell you the same: Good process isn't just important. It's everything. That tidy, branded webcast you multi-tasked your way through last Tuesday was actually a gnarly and complex go-live sequence of 100 different moving parts, half-human, half technology, all with zero room for error, and repeated hundreds of times each day.

Yes, gnarly is the technical term.

So you can imagine that during six years in this frenetic business, with roles ranging from admin to analyst to global head, I've gained a unique appreciation for (and undeniable reliance upon) resilient, reliable, usable processes. The plans that keep us sane when the project gets down the rabbit hole, or the tried-and-tested routines we rely on to rescue us from our own confusion in the deep stew of deliverables—the way great teams deliver more, better, faster.

Seems fitting for a first post that we start at the beginning, right? Step one for any great, successful (read: completed) project: Agree on the process. Don't just pick what to do/make/decide, but take the time to agree how you should get there. What process should you follow to get the outcome you want, who owns each part of it, and how will they all come together in the end? While it may seem like a waste of time to start by talking process, taking the time to plan will make or break your project in the end.

Want to know the secret to A's on exams in university? Read the damn thing first. Don't even pick up your pen before you read the whole test completely. The same principle applies to virtually any project, from the RFP due yesterday, to this week's webinar, to next year's go-to-market strategy. Start by taking the time to decide on the process first, to consider what you need to do to avoid six weeks in a boardroom only to end up going with your gut. Skip this step and you risk delivering sloppy results, no results at all, or worse still, mediocre results and a less engaged, driven team—the business equivalent of 63% on the mid-term.

I'm excited to have a channel to share this (admittedly nerdy) stuff and hope you'll feel welcome to do the same. Processes only get better with time, use, and input so let's build a space to learn from each other's mistakes and triumphs, in the interest of spending less time in the boardroom and more time delivering on time and in scope. Like a boss.

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