Strategy and Execution

by David Samoranski on June 11th, 2011

Strategic initiatives fail for many reasons. Success is often enabled by hard work rather than detailed planning. The most innovative business strategies offer little value if the execution falls short. Many ideas and methodologies exist to assist companies with managing the work identified in their plans. I think it all comes down to metrics. That which is measured gets done. The new wave of accountability and transparency is fueling this demand for insightful information in the organization.

Presenting decision makers with data that helps them identify risk and visualize how initiatives fit together enables them to make informed decisions about the business. It is extremely important to identify appropriate metrics that give insight into project data such as resources, schedule, and cost. Strategic planning defines the overall objectives of an organization and the specific drivers that will realize those objectives. Alignment of projects and initiatives to these drivers guide the business to do the right things. Performance metrics and monitoring help ensure that the business is doing things right.

Key metrics or vital signs for an initiatives health should present information in a simple, logical, and repeatable fashion. This forms the basis for a consistent monitoring and reporting experience. Create acceptable ranges and thresholds to identify critical problems. Incorporate variance trend analysis to allow managers the ability to forecast potential problems. Root cause analysis can enable experienced managers to investigate alternatives and adjust the course of action before the variances have a significant impact on the desired outcome.

Accurate tracking and measurement of metrics drives more effective and timely resolutions to issues and crises situations that may occur. Questions about performance are a great way to identify meaningful indicators. Examples include:

How much have we spent so far?
How does this compare with the plan?
What risks have been identified?
What are the potential impacts of the identified risks?
Are we accomplishing the milestones we planned?
Are we completing deliverables as planned?
How many people are working on this?
How has the baseline varied over time?
How many open issues exist?
Are we on schedule?

Designing the reporting interfaces to present this information and identifying the data required to drive those user experiences comes next. Thinking about execution from a monitoring perspective allows you to define the information that will be needed to determine success later. Making this information readily available to everyone in the business leads to a more results oriented culture that focuses on execution performance.

From → Business

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