Nike ran an ad campaign in 1977 that we love, “There is no finish line”. There is no finish line in anything you train for, if the goal is to continuously improve.
If your goal is to just get something done, this probably isn’t for you. If you want to continuously improve, scale your organization and role, then you’re going to love what we have in store with the Baton Method. However, like training for a marathon, not much is more important than the foundational tenets of your form and methods. We at Baton believe that through shared systems, lexicon and process we can universally improve the way that software implementation projects are done. The improvements we see coming will require significant perspective shifts in three areas:
- People and the critical roles they play in improving projects
- Processes that are swiftly evolving and incorporating new methods, technologies and perspectives
- Metrics for ensuring that our intent to improve is realized through persistent measurements for tracking a team’s performance on any implementation project and at any given time.
The Baton Method calls for mindful engagement from every project team member; an emerging mantra that says, “if you sign up, you must also show up. There is no finish line.” Project teams should strive to become somewhat binary in determining that its participants either belong on the implementation team or they simply don’t. The Baton Method does not naively presume that hierarchies will cease and that all team members will have an equal say. However, it does give a new type of voice to all participants as well as a “listening” tool that promotes accountability for all involved. At its core, the Baton Method recognizes that project failures and, of course, successes, are ultimately the result of the thinking, planning, work, and communications of the people involved.
The days of religious adherence to old project management methodologies are ending. ‘Church is out,’ for the zealots who insist on saying, “this is how we did it in my day.” The Baton Method was born out of the too frequent realization that the old ways of doing things are now often more likely to stall progress than accelerate it. For at least a century, Big Business has complained about the frustration of useful information being inaccessible; locked away in silos within their own company’s business systems and processes. And what happens on a macro level in Big Business, also happens at the micro level with projects — especially in software implementations — where the information silos not only cross departments but also cross organizational boundaries. The Baton Method instills new technology-enhanced processes that eliminate communication gaps and enable real-time, accurate assessments of project deliverables to make software implementations less challenging. In short, processes are improved through the simplification of task management and the accelerated and assured exchange of project information.
Perhaps the most inexcusable and overly-used explanation for software implementation delays is the lack of universally-accepted methods for measuring the various components of a given project. The Baton Method allows participants to not just break down a project into a manageable set of tasks, inter-dependancies, deadlines and assignees and assignors. It also provides transparent tracking mechanisms for all to see where the delays occur, and which team members and downstream deliverables are impacted by the delays. Using the Baton Method, those managing multiple projects can see problems in the aggregate and provide insights into how to possibly avoid similar delays in the future. The ability to repeatedly measure multiple aspects of a software implementation project also lets teams set new metrics for future customer engagements and thus set better expectations for those tasks that take more time or resources than originally expected.
Instead of drafting a wrap-up for this edition of the Baton Method, we’ll again invite you to email us firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts on ways for the industry to improve software implementations. Too busy to write to us today? No rush. We’re far from done. After all…there is no finish line.