Due to the time management and getting things done. In this article, I’m going to share my version of “the basics.”, businesses are being asked to do “more with less.” Not only do we as business owners have more to do these days but we also operate in more complex worlds. Still, sticking to the basics is the key to
There are three variables that apply to getting something done: the task(s) at hand, the time available, and the resources required to do it. In the spirit of providing helpful guidance, I’ll put the winning formula up front. If you want to get things done, use a fixed timeframe, optimize your resources, and reduce the tasks at hand in order to succeed at getting things done.
Task At Hand
The most common source of failed projects is in the definition of the task at hand. The wrong way to do it is through generic statements such as
“I want this office to look beautiful.”
Why is this wrong? It is vague, has no definition, and lacks measurable tasks and outcomes. It is more of a vision statement but even then lacks key components of a vision such as tying the vision back to business benefits.
A leader will start with a good vision such as:
“My vision is to make our business physically more appealing for ourand the customers that visit them. It will help us be more productive and increase our customer satisfaction. This quarter I want to start off with remodeling our main reception area that will include new lights, new paint, and new furniture.”
From this definition, you or an employee can come up with a tactical list of what needs to be done. This will lead to a series of steps that will include defining resources (budgets and) and setting timelines.
I was on a project about 10 years ago when someone suggested extending a deadline. One of the team members, who happened to be British, said, “No, its like blokes and Christmas. You could push the holiday to Jan. 25 and they are still going to wait until the last minute to do their shopping.”
Being a male, I definitely didn’t agree with the generalization; however, the humorous point was spot on. Fixed timelines drive results. Pick a date; it will drive the rest of the formula. If you do not use a fixed timeline, your project’s chance of failure will significantly increase from the start.
Resources boil down to people and money. I’ve already established that we are being asked to do more with less, forcing us to optimize our resources because we have fewer people and shrinking budgets. This will happen naturally due to the economic situation. When economies are booming, however, mistakes are often made by people trying to throw too many resources at a project and they hit a ceiling of diminishing returns. For example, two painters painting on the same wall get in each other’s way and do not drive twice the—it’s a fact.
The Variable Part of the Formula–Back to the Task At Hand
When you have a fixed timeframe and a conservative set of resources, your project will immediately be driven into a state of tradeoff decisions. This is where your time should be focused, as it will ultimately determine the success of your project.
Think about it as if you were building a house. In nine months you won’t end up with a two-story, five-bedroom home with a pool, fully grown oak trees, perfect landscaping, and the ultimate media outfitting. After all, a single piece of media equipment on backorder could throw off the entire time schedule. Besides, the fully grown oak trees take 20 years.
When you make tradeoff decisions, you have to decide if you are willing to deliver a feature at 50% or cut it all together and implement it at a later point in time. If I go back to the office reception remodeling project, the reception area might take too long to renovate or might be too expensive. What happens if you cut some of the expensive lighting that is on backorder and replace it with a floor lamp? What alternative furnishing options do we have? Is it possible to not do a faux finish and compensate with artwork or other unique design features.
Getting Things Done
As a leader, you can get things done. Define projects with attainable goals in reasonable timeframes. Then, be the gatekeeper and force your teams to stick to the budgets and the time frames. Your tools for doing so will be basic project management skills and encouraging the team to make tradeoff decisions. Accomplishing goals is not only important for you but it can significantly impact the moral of employees.
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