I had cause recently to review the milestones of a major project one of my clients is working on. The project doesn't directly affect my work with my client however it is affecting some of the people I am working with. I noticed something in my review of project papers - most of the milestones are towards the end of the project.
I asked the project leader how come there weren't more milestones along the way to let people know that they are on track. He asked me why I was asking. I replied that it seemed to me based on conversations with people I am working with, that the project may actually be off track and that part of the reason is that people don't actually know where they have been or exactly where they're going.
Turns out that the project was off track. A few short meetings with stakeholders has it back on track and now there are milestones in place that really matter and that tell people exactly where they have been and precisely where they're going.
In the various projects you're working on in your life and work do your milestones really matter?
It is easy to get of track. As a general rule I find that is is prudent to make the investment up front and really make sure that in whatever we're working on we have identified milestones that matter all the way along the path to reaching our goals.
In the Enhancing Their Gifts System we teach people to spend a lot of time and energy getting a shared-view around
where we are (reality)
where we're going (possibility)
why we're going there (purpose)
how we will get there (strategy)
who will do what and when (execution)
how we will know we are on track (milestones and lead measures)
how we will behave along the way (values)
Shared-view makes it simple for people to own their unique piece of the execution puzzle. Shared-view must be revisited continually. In the Enhancing Their Gifts System (ETGS) every employee has a 90 day personal and business performance possibility plan (PPP) that is their piece of the execution puzzle. Crucially within the PPP there are agreed milestones so that people can always know that they are on track. The critical piece of ETGS is that daily conversations take place about performance and centre around shared-view and the actions detailed in PPPs. This means that everyone knows where they are at every single day.
What systems and processes (management) do you have in place that ensure milestones really matter?
And how inspirational and influential (leadership) are you in ensuring that your people are creating milestones that really matter to them?
Be the difference you want to see in the world.