The leaders of a church called me last week to ask for help. They were struggling with their computer systems, and I soon discovered that the frustrations ran deeper and wider than just “technology”. They expressed the lament that many of their projects were just….off-course. They were experiencing delays, excess costs, and missed targets.
As we spoke, it became clear that they were making the same mistakes that I have often made. When I am under pressure, I am tempted to take shortcuts. When I know that I am running out of time…or money…I tend to push harder. I can easily convince myself that I can succeed if I dig deeper, skip a few meetings, shut down the conversations, and eliminate the inefficiency of actions like documentation.
The problem is this: Meetings, Conversations, Planning Sessions, and Documentation are not a waste of time. In fact, they are crucial to the success of our projects. (My team likes to say “weeks of coding can save hours of planning”…LOL)
After 30 minutes of dialogue with this leadership team about their frustrations, I shared how easy it is to take shortcuts when under pressure. We all have too many tasks and projects in motion. We all face the dilemma of producing a compelling worship service every 7 days. Plus, we all have people lining up at our doors who are facing the loss of health, relationships, job, marriage, or even life itself.
We are all buried…and therefore we try to take shortcuts and push our projects along without following the most simple and basic processes…and we know better. We know that we should clearly articulate our project goals. We know that we should write down the steps to get the work done and protect the critical path. We know that we should meet with all the stakeholders to make sure their needs are addressed. We know that we should clearly articulate who is doing what so that work is not wasted and no one overlooks anything. But…we push on and take shortcuts.
I’ve been asked to help produce a short class on project management for our organization. I’ve done that before, but I’ve never tried to write it out into short, crisp, easily understood segments. So, I’ve decided to do that here on this blog. Over the next few weeks, I will share the hard lessons learned over the years…the ones that should never be skipped.
I’m saying it out loud to create the accountability for myself. If I don’t tell you my intentions…I may take a shortcut and not deliver. I welcome your feedback.
Thanks for listening.
PS: Thanks for your encouragement and patience during the last few weeks. I needed a break from writing.