Using the context of the project as the foundation for change and human development.
We implement solutions while leading improvement in the client’s team so the end user team is more effective as time goes on. By using the context of the project as the foundation for change and human development, we get better results than companies who separately focus on technology solutions, management, or leadership.
After many years on all types of projects we have determined what is most important to achieve project success. We have distilled this experience into these Project Principles:
Include the UserThe people doing the actual work which is affected by the new system or change in operations must be involved in the design. Not only does this flush out details which may not be known to management or technical people involved in the project, but it also helps to generate ownership on the part of the user team.
LeadershipAll projects and initiatives require leadership at all levels in the execution of the project. We find the natural leaders among the client team and develop the leadership in others with the potential.
TruthProjects require full disclosure in all activities. Alternative perspectives and viewpoints notwithstanding, truth is a fundamental principle at the heart of any project — we believe in full disclosure whenever possible.
Continually Improve Human CommunicationsEffective communication moves projects forward without lost time. Ambiguity in communication leads to wasted efforts and frustration. We strive to help team-members improve their communication skills throughout the duration of our involvement.
Humans are Part of the SystemThere are few truly “lights out” systems. Humans are almost always part of any operations system. Human factors are vital to take into account during the design and implementation of all systems. Failure to do so leads to “work arounds”, incomplete or incorrect data inside systems, and frustrations on the part of users and operators – causing systems to fail to meet stated goals and not generate the necessary ROIs.
Stay Focused but Be Open to ChangeWe are engineers, and technology professionals are typically detail oriented people who like to focus on an activity and push through obstacles to completion. However we must be open to new ways of doing things, different ways of looking at things, new solutions and techniques. Businesses change and the landscape of product and service offerings are constantly in motion. It is our job to know when to push through to achieve the goal and when to yield and follow a different path.
Implement in PhasesPeople and businesses cannot tolerate excessively long planning and analysis phases. It is better to break a project or initiative down into smaller pieces which can be executed more quickly to reduce risk. In this way there is a quicker ROI, providing those involved with the satisfaction that their efforts are generating results, and increasing momentum on the project.
“Systems Thinking” not “Symptomatic Thinking”Finding the “pain points” is relatively easy. The harder part is looking at the bigger picture and finding the root causes and challenging the fundamental landscape which is leading to the “pain”. We focus on re-engineering and fixing things at the most basic level and not on adding complexity and temporary solutions to individual symptoms.
Apply Professional Project ManagementIdentifying the necessary activities, scheduling them, applying resources to them, and managing them are the keys to success.
Reduce “Spin”Full disclosure and a focus on the facts should be the goal in all communications leading to important business decisions, operations and systems design.
Maintain Focus on Business, not TechnologyIn business, technology should be applied to solving real world business problems, improving the ability for the business to meet customer and stakeholder needs.
Stick to a Methodology, But Don’t Be a Slave to ItThere are many successful methodologies and it is important to decide on an appropriate methodology which fits the specific project, team and type of application. Our projects always require an understanding and agreement with the entire team as to the methodology to be applied. However we have learned to remain flexible and able to apply different techniques to different areas in the project within the overall framework in order to be more effective.
Use the Passion of PeopleSteady pressure consistently applied is a great way to keep a business going, but when significant change is needed and new systems and operations are being put in place, passion for the job at hand is how things get accomplished. We have learned to encourage this passion and deal with the ups and downs in the human environment which come along with great passion in teams.
Users Can’t Tell YouUsers don’t speak in the language of functional or systems requirements. It is through the skill and experience of the team leaders that we figure out what needs to be done and how best to accomplish it in the client’s environment.
Measure Progress By Achieving Tangible ResultsWe must measure our progress along the way in ways which are meaningful to the project team. We need to be able to recognize achievement and be ready to change the approach where we are falling behind. This means we have to know what the objectives are from the outset and be ready to adjust them as business needs change and the project develops. In today’s world, results must be achieved in days, not months.
FlexibilityThe days of the perfect plan which is executed methodically over many months are long gone. With the pace our customers demand today, we must remain flexible enough to alter our execution plans while remaining focused on achieving the desired results. Call it agile or whatever you like, flexibility is fundamental to all projects today.
Gene designed an inventory control system for us using barcode and mobile data collection technology. Our technology team was able to implement the system in-house, saving many thousands on 3rd party software and allowing us to keep control of exactly how we wanted the system to work. Gene and I share similar leadership styles where developing our reports is a high priority and I have enjoyed having someone like him to bounce ideas off of.
- Doug Henrriquez, Global Director of Operations, Horizon Technology
Our company had a vision of utilizing data collection technology to improve the accuracy and efficiency of managing product activity within our supply chain. We selected Gene Kaplan of Performance Operations due to his overall systems integration knowledge and his ability to interpret technology down to the basic components. By doing this, we were able to get participation of key individuals within our company who embraced the utilization of these systems. We recognized significant improvements in the participating operations. Gene's ability to communicate with executives, RDC management, and those capturing data was instrumental in the system's success. I highly recommend Gene and his team.
- Tim Miller, VP Operations, Master-Halco