Focus on business, people, customers and then technology, in that order #HoskWisdom
when we focus on a delivering the project, we miss the goal of the project. Think beyond the project, focus on the helping the business be successful and use technology to help.
Projects involve people, time and expense, they take time and effort. The measurement of success becomes delivering the project and this becomes the focus of the project. Everyone focuses on delivering the project, forgetting the real goal of a project. Our focus becomes narrow that we miss the goal and are unprepared for the real problems that occur after.
In the book Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War talking about how the marines focus on creating a beachhead.
“Once, while the groups wrestled with how to put a landing force on the shores of Iran, Boyd realized the Marines were placing inordinate emphasis on how to establish a beachhead. “That beachhead is looming bigger and bigger,” he said. “You guys are paying too much attention to terrain. The focus should be on the enemy. Fight the enemy, not the terrain.””
A beach head is temporary line created and then reinforced quickly with numbers, the attacking force can push on and take the beach. This is a world war 1 tactic where most battles were head on and wars of attrition.
John Boyd refers to this “Hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle”
The goal isn’t creating a beachhead, the focus shouldn’t be on the terrain, the goal is to attack the enemy, beat the enemy and landing a beachhead is small part of the plan.
These are world war 1 tactics, they didn’t take into account the change in weapons, communications, the enemy or the situation. How many times do people try to run a project, just like the previous project.
In the article — Thinking beyond the beachhead it has this quote
“The main lesson at Normandy, I think, is relevant to the point that I am trying to make. Planners went into the operation focusing on getting on the beach, a task that they anticipated would be the major problem. As it turned out, the problem was getting off the beach!”
When we focus on the wrong area, we focus are thinking to that area. We need to step back and see the larger goal and how it all fits into a larger system.
Tactics should be tailored to the situation, not just pushing the strategy used in the previous war against a different opponent.
What happens on projects?
The goal of a project should be to help the business become more efficient, solve their problems. Technology should be one of part of the improvements, aligned with the business processes, the people and business goals.
Design thinking starts looking at the how the business works, their problems and goals. It looks at the pain points with the current ways of working and how to improve customer service. The initial work looks at the business holistically and on creative solutions.
In many projects the focus is on replacing the existing systems and new technology..
The focus is on
- The existing legacy system
- Delivering the project on time
The focus is on the technology and the project , we focus on the beachhead and not the enemy.
Every customer, business and project are unique, there isn’t a template that delivers a successful project. You need to observe the environment, requirements, problems, people, industry, company and ways of working, use this to create a unique approach.
The environment changes, the approach needs to reflect this, you cannot use a static approach too every project because it sometimes it will work and sometimes it won’t.
A plan and approach will be created at the start of the project, this will quickly be wrong because the information on the project changes. Your plan needs to be based on reality, you need to make decisions with the latest information.
Think beyond the project, focus on the business, people, customers and technology, in that order. There isn’t a standard template, you have to focus on the goals and problems of the business. Understand the business first and creation the solution second.