Rumbling and grumbling Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2007
We live in a fast-moving world where the de-mands are high and a premium is put on speed. Business goals are bigger than in years past, time to market is shorter, projects are more expansive, and often, the funds allocated to accomplish what’s necessary are smaller.

It’s no wonder that in such a rush and with so much to accomplish, business leaders often choose to aim high and wide, then drive their team toward premature ulcers in an attempt to tackle everything at once in a macabre corporate scrum.

But there’s no need to get indigestion by trying to gobble up everything at once. Rather, smart leaders accomplish the improbable by splitting the lofty, aggressive goals into smaller, easier-to-digest chunks and developing smaller projects with achievable deadlines.

Project management, by its very nature, is easier discussed than executed. Even the most organized executive can find him or herself knee — or neck — deep in the nuts and bolts of a major project and suddenly be unable to determine which tasks should take top priority and which should be relegated to later.

That’s typically where the bad decisions happen, the project derails and the pain in the pit of your stomach begins.

An easy way to avoid reaching this point — and to keep from getting overwhelmed — is to begin every major undertaking with a lengthy project meeting designed to define the scope of the project, set the time-line, create deadlines and associate the key names on your team with the tasks.

Even if you’re just managing the overall vision for the project — for example, a critical corporate expansion, introduction of a new product or service, divestiture of a business unit or entire line, taking the company public or a merger/acquisition — this step will, in retrospect, become the most important, and therefore, requires your attention.

From there, it’s a matter of making sure your team — or project leaders — is sticking to the schedule, tracking the progress and achieving the smaller milestones along the way.

As you rack up milestone after milestone, don’t forget to celebrate, and suddenly that monster project won’t seem so overwhelming anymore. More important, you’ll successfully digest it piece-by-piece rather than as one unsettling chunk.

Your company’s internal digestive system will thank you for it.

Contact Editor Dustin Klein at dsklein@sbnonline.com