Start Small To Get Great

“Dust is the parent of a star.” Munia Khan – Author

All successful and failed outcomes start somewhere. Garages, dorm rooms, napkins in coffee shops. Starting small is common. Winning big – not so much.

9 out of 10 start-ups fail. 70% of IT projects are delayed or fail in part or in total (interestingly, the more costly and large the project, the greater risk of failure). 60% of restaurants fail in the first few years. We all need to learn tools and techniques to increase our chances of being in the success column.

Even if starting a new venture within the confines of a large organization, match creativity with pragmatism. Here’s some ideas to start as you mean to go on.

  1. Find a consortia of the willing. Find the people that are eager for the outcomes and co-opt them to participate in the early phases. Like-minded people does not mean automatic yes-men & women. Being interested in the same outcomes is key, but look for diversity of thought in how the outcomes are achieved. And don’t worry about persuading change-averse nay-sayers. If the willing produce success, adoption will grow.
  2. In some orgs, a pilot isn’t considered valid unless it includes one or more large units. Smaller units can be more flexible and agile, particularly if they are looking to grow their piece of the revenue pie. Pilot small and often. Multiple learning and failing cycles only help the end result. Iterate with agility and intelligence.
  3. Know what policies and rules matter, and follow them. Know which don’t matter, and skip over them. Time to market matters, and taking the time to know how to get funding approved, how procurement works up front will save you time in the long run. Conversely, don’t let “adminis-trivia” be the millstone around the project’s neck.
  4. Think (but don’t worry) about everything. In early stages of a project, think broadly about the market, requirements, outcomes, resources, risks, issues, where the nearest coffee/pizza providers are and if they deliver. Get it all out there, write it down, categorize it. Get the stuff you need into the initial pilot, proof of concept or first phase production delivery. Save all the rest with some thinking about a rubric for how to evaluate and prioritize for subsequent iterations. Worry is like clicking a pen – it gives you something to do but doesn’t get anywhere.

Getting to great means knowing how to do small.

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A. A. Milne – Author

Worth considering:

The C-Suite should be considering the roadmap for core applications (ERP et al). This piece from Deloitte University Press provides food for thought.

Should I choose Space or Glossy Black on iPhone 7, announced September 7. I suppose moot since, even given new water-proofing, with my track record I should encase it in a heavy duty case.

Who is the real leader in the Peanuts gang? Charlie Brown? Snoopy? Peppermint Patty? Check this out to see who it is, and why it’s not such a good thing.


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