Category Archives: Project Management

Project Planning – you need be sensitive as well as critical

Planning Process

In an earlier post, I suggested looking at planning as map-making for an expedition. Planning also requires elements of “Process Thinking” as it incorporates three key functions:

  1. Identification of all activities and constraints
  2. Development of the project logic
  3. Estimation of task duration

The key objectives are to identify the required sequence of events, assess the interaction between them and determine the overall timescale for the project.

Planning Problems

In my experience, three things go wrong in this process:

  1. Participants don’t fully understand the interactions between the various activities, especially the “virtual” constraints – where nothing physical happens (e.g. getting planning permission, awaiting drawing approval etc.)
  2. Over optimistic assessment of durations
  3. Fixation on the “Critical Path”

The Danger of “the Critical Path”

This may lead to over ambitious timescales being promised, excessive focus on a few issues and an over emphasis on physical activities. Often it is forgotten that the calculated “Critical Path” depends on the accuracy of the estimates of task / activity duration – change the estimates: change the critical path. Estimates by their very nature are approximate and therefore the impact of variations in these estimates needs to be evaluated.

In consequence a delay may occur when some virtual activity over runs, causing an activity well off the calculated Critical Path to affect the entire schedule.

What is needed, in addition to rigorous investigation is to undertake some sensitivity analysis and recognition that:

  1. Estimates are only estimates
  2. The implementation may take a different route to that planned
  3. You may be “fooled” by the technology – just because it looks neat on the printout, it doesn’t mean it will be plain sailing.
Typical Project Schedule

Project Schedule

It’s the quality of the thinking that matters

What matters is that you think about your plan effectively. Planning is about thinking processes not software.

For the sake of a nail

AFalling Rocks Road Sign common feature of delays in “virtual” activities is that durations can expand in steps, they can accumulate and affect broad sections of the project. The non-arrival of vendor drawings could prevent an application for planning permission causing a a scheduled council meeting to be missed. A delay of one day in one task may lead to a delay of a month or so in the next activity. You might term this a landslide, which emphasises the need to understand the landscape of your project rather than the route map!

You need to be sensitive to the potentials for delay and don’t focus solely on the calculated Critical Path. The real route will be different to the planned journey. Be prepared for the rocks that may fall in your way, you will need to find a way around them.

Project Planning as Map Making

This is the second post on the “Project Thinking” sub-theme which has emerged from the “Thinking Styles” theme.

Planning Importance and Experience

Anyone who has been involved with projects will be aware of the importance of planning and most will have war stories about what has worked and what has not. In my view, planning is misunderstood by many people and often fails as a result.
The key issues are:

  • You need to understand the “landscape” of the project before you can come up with a sensible plan and the ability to respond to what is discovered on the journey [project].
  • The process and the communication involved are usually more important than the plan.
  • The plan is a by-product of the thinking: poor thinking = poor plan.
  • The plan is the current best guess based on what we know now.
  • Reality will be different to what has been planned but forewarned is forearmed.

I aim to set the scene here and will return to the theme in a later post.

Planning and Understanding

To thoroughly understand the project you need to know its geography and perhaps the underlying geology. You need to be able to answer the following questions:

Plans as Maps

To be able to do this effectively there is a need for a series of plans of different types. This is similar to the different types of map needed to understand an area.

  • Broad picture – atlas style
  • More detailed – road map style
  • Detailed – street map / ordnance survey style
  • Specialist presentations – demographics / geological maps

The key difference in a project context is that you have to create each of these maps yourself! In many cases, the starting point and desired end point are known and often the journey time is specified [perhaps with little reference to what needs to be done and the prevailing conditions] but the terrain which needs to be crossed is not known in sufficient detail. Consequently, it makes sense to think of the journey ahead as an exploration. Most projects are one offs: the participants will have been on similar expeditions in the past but will never have been on this precise journey before.

The plan and the journey

To continue the metaphor, the expedition [project] leader will know where they are starting from and the height and location of the mountain they need to climb but not have any idea of how hospitable the terrain between the starting point and the destination is:

  • Are there rivers to ford?
  • Intermediate mountain ranges to traverse?
  • Deserts to cross?

There is also the potential for an imbalance between the route to be taken and the resources available, the fitness of the team and the tools available. There is a danger [see Project Planning – the 4th Dimension] that the timing will be set on the basis of optimum resources and the budget set on a less generous basis.

Project planning as a change process

As with any change process, involving the team in the process is really helpful both in terms of arriving at better solutions, reducing resistance and gaining commitment. If they produce the map and understand the landscape they are crossing then they will be both more focused on producing a good map [their success depends on it] and secondly, they will be aware of options on how to accommodate changes in circumstances. This will lead to greater motivation and less stress when the inevitable diversions become necessary.

It also is likely to lead to a more helpful understanding of the purpose of the plan and degree of confidence to be placed in the current plan. The mind-set becomes one of accepting the plan as being the current best [informed] guess of the best way forward and an understanding that some of the fine details of the route will only become apparent when one ventures into the unknown.

Remember, without involvement, there is no commitment; so, worry less about producing the plan and put more effort into facilitating the planning process and developing a shared understanding of the expedition.

Project Thinking – not your usual 9-5!

This is the first of several postings on the issues and approaches that contribute to Project Thinking. It builds on the ideas in the “Think about it – 8 ways to enhance your thinking” posting. This issue has gathered a lot of attention as have some related postings:

Turning good ideas into effective action and

One small step – from good idea to effective action

So, I am publishing this material rather earlier than I intended.

There but for fortune …

Managing projects is not the same as managing production! Projects are not continuous; they have a start and [hopefully] an end. You only get one roll of the dice. This means that you can follow best practice, have a great team and do a good job of managing the project but still get a poor outcome. Your efforts influence your chances of success but you cannot rely on chance to even things out.

Conversely, sometimes the worst organised and managed projects will succeed.

The trick is not to be disheartened by the first case or fooled by the second!

It’s not personal, it’s business

Often project managers forget that their project, however important it is to them, is a means to an end, the owners do not want the project; they only want the outcome, asset or capability. This means that you need to maintain a focus on the business objectives as well as the project objectives. A project that meets its internal goals without meeting the business objectives cannot be a success – it may become a “White Elephant”.

Project and Business Objectives Matrix

All change!

We live in a highly dynamic world today and the business environment can change very quickly, so keep the business objectives under frequent review. Things will change dramatically over the lifetime of most significant projects.

As discussed in earlier postings, it is crucial that everyone involved is doing the same project. Without agreement on aims, objectives and scope there can be no concerted effort and factional pressures will hamper progress.

Don’t forget the process

Similarly, project managers are likely to focus on the content of the project: what is to be delivered or developed. To manage effectively, it is also necessary to focus some attention on the process and the context. In structured project management environments, the preferred methodology may set the process but a wise PM will keep this under review and keep evaluating whether the default approach remains appropriate in the light of developments.

Project Thinking First Steps

So, the first element of project thinking is:

  • Think about risk and probability – there is no average
  • Focus on objectives
    • Project
    • Business
    • Bear in mind the rate of change in the business environment
    • Think about
      • Process
      • Context and
      • Content

Think about it – 8 ways to enhance your thinking

When you are faced with a critical decision in your business, you probably recognise that you will need to give it some thought but how often do you think about how you need to think about the issues involved?

That’s right! Do you think about how you need to think?

In his seminal work, Six Thinking Hats, Dr Edward de Bono highlighted the need for different modes of thinking at different points in the process and in particular the need for everyone involved to be thinking in the same way at the same time.

I’d like to build on that idea by suggesting eight key thinking styles that you should apply to any critical decision you need to make – I call this Pivotal Thinking. The key themes are outlined below and each will be explored in detail in subsequent postings.

The thinking styles are:

  1. Critical
  2. Strategic
  3. Creative
  4. Systemic
  5. Project
  6. Lateral
  7. Process
  8. Reflective

Critical Thinking

This style is particularly useful for examining information and testing assumptions. It is exemplified by the approach of Henry Fonda’s character [Juror #8] in “12 Angry Men”, probing, challenging and taking nothing for granted.

Strategic Thinking

This approach is crucial for looking at the big picture and long term. It means standing back from the detail and looking at aims, objectives, trends and capabilities. It also means looking at opportunities, threats and options from the perspective of all stakeholders.

Creative Thinking

To get ahead of your competition, avoid getting into a rut and find better answers to the challenges you face, you need to think creatively. Contrary to popular opinion, this can be helped by a structured approach which balances and sequences divergent and convergent thinking, selecting appropriate tools and techniques at each stage.

Systemic Thinking

You probably learned to think systematically at school / university but sometimes there is a need to think about the system as a whole, the interactions between the various parts and the causes and consequences of particular options. This style goes hand in glove with both strategic and creative thinking.

Project Thinking

Managing projects needs a different style of thinking to most management situations. Project thinking requires you to pay attention to the sequence of events, the flow of information and the interactions between events. It is highly relevant to the implementation of strategy and requires focus on objectives, roles and resources.

Lateral Thinking

Your closest competitors are likely to come up with similar strategies and solutions to those you arrive at through logical analysis, so it can be useful to use lateral thinking to arrive at better, non-intuitive solutions. This thinking style, invented by Dr Edward de Bono, encourages you to arrive at better solutions by attacking the issue from completely different perspectives and often through an intermediate unworkable solution.

Process Thinking

In many cases, it can be very useful to use these thinking styles in combination or in appropriate sequences. This is where process thinking comes in – a bit like the Blue Hat in Six Thinking Hats, it will help you select the right thinking style for the situation and decided on the order in which to apply them [and recycle if necessary]

Reflective Thinking

To help you learn and benefit from previous experience, it can be useful to adopt a reflective thinking style. This will allow you to look at what you have done in the past and the results you have got. If you combine it with a critical approach, you may get to the real causes of past failures and successes and develop much improved approaches.

So the next time you think you need to think about something – think first about how you need to think.

Think about it!

One small step – from good idea to effective action

You’ve a burning idea to improve your business, you would like to move it forward but it’s still a bit fuzzy. You are not sure how to get going or even how to describe it to others. Perhaps that’s stopping you from doing anything but it is critical that you take that first step as the classic quote says.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Here’s a suggestion on how to get things moving in a positive direction.

Rudyard Kipling’s famous quotation is a great way to start structuring your ideas.

“I keep six honest serving men: They taught me all I knew:

Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who”

At early stages you should concentrate on:

What you are trying to achieve

How things will be different

Why it is a good idea

Who you ought to involve

The most important issues are to put some structure on your idea, test its validity and generate some support – if you don’t it won’t go any further.

You can focus on the details of what precisely you are going to do and how you are going to do it later. You will probably find that the people you engage with will have different and better ideas about the details – you can’t plan the journey until you know where you are going!  They are also likely to have some good suggestions of other people to get on board.

Critical Stage

Many projects and change initiatives go wrong at this stage because the participants end up doing the wrong project [and sometimes they all end up doing different projects!], so it is vital that you explore the issues and potentials fully at an early stage. This should be an expansive stage, gathering ideas from everyone who has an angle, don’t discount anything at this stage [you can’t generate ideas and evaluate them at the same time], even the seemingly crazy ideas may lead to something really useful.

Value Differences

Surround yourself with different types of people, if they all see things in the same way and bring the same skills, knowledge and experience to the table, you are very unlikely to get any radical ideas. You need to encourage everyone to speak their mind, table their ideas and explain their understanding.

Faciliate the process

To get effective dialogue you will need someone to facilitate the process, so you need to either develop the skills or preferably bring in someone who is skilled, experienced and independent.

If you don’t get into effective dialogue at this stage, then you will find out later than what you deliver is different to what someone was expecting – even if it is possible to put it right later, it will cost a lot more.

See my earlier blog post That’s not what I thought I was getting! for more details.

Key Issues

So at this stage, three things are important:

  1. That everyone is agreed on the destination
  2. That everyone is happy that they’ve had their say
  3. That you take the first step.

Focus on

Focus your attention on three types of reaction to proposals:

  1. One group or individual is keen to have a particular feature and others don’t see the value of.
  2. Ideas which are dismissed without any effective debate
  3. Ideas which are accepted without any effective debate

The first may well mean that there is a lack of shared understanding between the groups / individuals and the others may indicate that whilst everyone is using the same words, they actually mean different things. You need to facilitate the debate and make sure that the aims and objectives of the proposal are understood by all.

If you don’t do this now, you’ll regret it later!

A spoonful of Sugar – the Engineer Strikes Back!

This isn’t the blog post I’d planned for today but Lord Sugar’s comments on the latest episode of the BBC Apprentice series can’t go unanswered. This Management Today blogpost provides the background and some commentary.

In the process of firing Glenn, Lord Sugar commented that he’d never met an Engineer who was a good manager. He must have been walking round with his eyes closed and / or not listened to anyone for long enough to find out about their background. In fact one of the panel, he uses to make the selection of the finalists, Bordan Tkachuk – CEO of Viglen, whilst not a fully qualified Engineer, has a technical background with a HND in Computer Science – I wonder what he thinks of his boss’s comments?

Lord Sugar’s comments don’t match my experience; some Engineers given the right exposure, training and experience can become excellent managers, business people and entrepreneurs. Sadly, two elements of the British psyche conspire against this:

We under value Engineering

We dilute the value of Engineering, Engineers and Engineering Qualifications by allowing anyone who does any task remotely connected with any type of machinery or process to call themselves an “Engineer”. It takes a degree and around 7 years postgraduate training and experience to become a Chartered Engineer – which is comparable with other professions.

Even businesses which ought to know better do it. British Gas which employs many professionally qualified  Chartered Engineers thinks it is acceptable to call the person who fixes your boiler an Engineer. These valuable workers would be better described as Fitters, Mechanics or Technicians.

This common use of the word “Engineer” would be illegal in Germany – I wonder why Germany has a much better reputation for Engineering than the UK?

We don’t train our managers

We don’t put enough effort into management training, preferring the “gifted amateur” approach referred to by the late Sir John Harvey Jones in his book “Making it happen”.

There appears to be a deeply rooted antipathy to training in the UK, both on the part of the managers and of those to be trained. It is possible that this stems from historical attitudes. We have always admired the effortless amateur who can ‘beat the professional at his own game’ and we have always been somewhat contemptuous of intellectuals and academics. ‘Real men’ in our folklore are men of action, and we admire physical courage more than moral integrity. But there is no doubt in my mind that training in Britain is a grossly undervalued source of competitive advantage.

Professor Michael Porter [with Christian  Ketels] of Harvard Business School made much the same point in his 2003 report – UK Competitiveness: moving to the next stage to the then DTI.

We reap what we sow!

It’s not where they come from …

Properly trained professional Engineers can become excellent managers and the combination of skills from both arenas is needed to re-build our reputation and capability. Not everyone, whatever their background, can become a great manager, nor would we want them to. Some accountants make great managers, many don’t; some marketing people make good managers, many don’t; it’s just the same for Engineers.

What Engineers can contribute

I’d contend however, that professional Engineers’ knowledge of systems, processes and control would be beneficial to most organisations. [I’ll return to this theme in future postings.]

A basic knowledge and understanding of Project Management would not go amiss with the candidates in The Apprentice who seem incapable of  working out the objectives of each task and structuring an appropriate plan of action.

What you can do about it

Encouraging Enterprise is an integrated development programme designed to provide professionals of all types with the commercial, communication and entrepreneurial skills they need to succeed in management and business development roles. Please contact me for more details.

For the record, I’m a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. I’ve been in management and business for more years than I care to mention and took an MBA several years after I too had been thrown in at the deep end!

Spend it, Spend it – just a little bit

It is interesting that sometimes several seemingly unconnected bits of information provoke a new line of thought [or reopen an old one].

Last week, Management Today reported on-line that UK corporates were sitting on over £70 billion of cash reserves and quoted an influential forecaster as saying they needed to start investing.

This week we got the GDP figures for the first quarter and they’ve generally been welcomed as they suggest we’ve avoided a double dip recession [so far]. However, it was noticeable that the figures for the Construction Sector fell by 4.7% in the last quarter.

We also had an announcement that a severe shortage of component manufacturers was threatening the future of car production in UK. This suggests a need for developing some high quality modern manufacturing capability.

As long ago as February 2001, I together with my colleague Keith Plumb commented [in a paper presented to the Institution of Chemical Engineers] on the advantages of investing in capital projects during downturns. The key element of our argument was that you get better value for money and get your new capacity earning profits while your competition is still thinking about it.

Empire State Building 2007

(c) J A Yates 2007

We illustrated this point by reference to the best known structure of the Great Depression – The Empire State Building. The drawings for this were produced in 2 weeks [OK they were what I call “Blue Peter Engineering” – modified from “Here’s one I prepared earlier”. Hopefully, you get the point: people were keen to deliver] The building [all 105 floors of it] was built in just 410 days [it can take longer than that to get planning permission these days!] and the building cost came in at just under 50% of budget! Wouldn’t you love to get that?

Our estimates at the time was that those spending in the least busy parts of the cycle could expect average tender costs to be about 21% lower than those at the peak. Given the low interest rates and higher inflation rates, the cash in the bank is gradually becoming worth less, so surely it makes sense to invest in capital projects!

A future post will discuss the results of a survey I’ve done on LinkedIn which questioned the main reasons that good ideas don’t get implemented and it was notable that funding came well behind Organisational Culture, Business Systems, Policies and Processes and Risk Aversion / Self Confidence. This suggests that the barriers to investment are predominantly internal.

Now would also be a good time to invest in training and developing staff so that they have the skills needed for up turn when it comes.

So what’s the point of sitting on the cash – it won’t hatch!

That’s not what I thought I was getting!

It’s a scene to send a chill down the spine of any project manager:

You are proudly showing off the asset you’ve worked for a couple of years to develop to the end-user, only to be greeted by “Oh! That’s not what I thought I was getting!”

How can this be?

What you’ve delivered meets the agreed specifications in every detail and still the customer is not satisfied!

It’s time to rewind to the development phase to understand what has gone wrong.

In many cases, the group which will use the asset is isolated from the project delivery team by a series of internal and external groups which are more focused on project delivery than the business itself. Even with effective procedures to define every aspect of the project, there is a danger that things will get lost in translation.

In most projects, there is a “one shot” transfer of end user requirements into the project team – OK it might happen a few times but fairly early on the input from the end user is scaled down. The project is then largely in the hands of “the techies” – engineers, architects, software developers etc. These groups are intent on delivering the best possible solution to the problem which has been defined in the project brief, User Requirements Specification or whatever you call it.

As the project proceeds, a plethora of new and more detailed documents, drawings, specifications, 3D Models, Schemas, Flow diagrams etc. is produced. These are intended to convey the requirements to other groups who are more and more expert in their element of the project. So they are formatted in ways that make sense to these groups.

Good project practice will ensure that these documents are circulated to the end-user who may even have responsibility for approval of the design. What is often forgotten is that the people involved are experts in something completely different: running factories, operating data centres, managing buildings etc. They are not experts in project management, design or construction, so there is a risk that they won’t be able to interpret the documents well enough to make informed decisions on the suitability of what is being proposed. They may also be overwhelmed by the quantity of information and miss what is important to them.

Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that from time to time what is delivered is not what was expected.

So, what can you do about this?

  1. Think about it from their perspective – what do they know about and what are they interested in?
  2. Think about the types of document are they used to seeing and aim to produce documents, mock-ups, prototype screen displays, sample reports in formats that will make sense to them, even if this means extra work. Take them to see examples of what you are proposing, they may not be able to visualise what you are proposing from the design documents.
  3. Be very careful in selecting the documents you want them to approve – don’t overburden them with detail they don’t need, aren’t interested in or don’t have the skills or knowledge to assess.
  4. Aim for a dialogue which allows a two-way flow of information throughout the project process.
  5. Most importantly, treat them as what they are – your customer, so be customer focused.

In short, put as much effort into describing the “asset” to its end users / future owners in terms they will understand as you put into describing to the implementers in terms they understand.

Project Planning – the 4th Dimension

Project plans are often thought of has having three key parameters:

  • Scope – what you plan to do and the standard you intend to meet
  • Cost / Budget – How much you intend to spend [taking all resources into account] and
  • Time/ schedule – How long you expect the project to take.

Different project types / styles and levels complexity require different levels of sophistication but the basic principles remain the same.

What I’ve noticed in many major projects that the proposed method of implementing the project is less well defined than the other aspects at sanction. This is a major error – not only to do the three elements mentioned above depend on the assumed approach but it is crucial that they are all mutually compatible and consistent. The four elements are in tension with each other, so altering one will affect all the others.

Tensions between elements of the project plan

There is a severe risk that the budget will be based on one implementation approach whilst the schedule is based on another. Simple examples of this can often be seen in TV property development programmes where, for example, – the budget is based on the developer doing the work whilst the schedule [and anticipated quality] is based on employing professionals. These assumptions are incompatible and problems are likely to surface as the work proceeds.

In professional circles, the risk of major discrepancies of this type is lower but can still exist, particularly if the development stages have not been based on effective dialogue [see an earlier post in this series – Make sure everyone is doing the same project.] This risk is heightened if the various elements of the plan are put together by separate teams with inadequate attention to communication. Similarly, there is a danger that the implementation approach will be changed late in the definition phase with assumptions being made on the likely impact on other aspects of the project. The nuances of assumed changes of approach can easily be missed and the implications of, for example, undertaking design work in-house rather than contracting it out can be underestimated.

Difficulties of this type can surface on seemingly minor sub-projects which become more important as work proceeds. There is a natural tendency to focus on major and critical items. This can lead to the team being blindsided when a significant minor but sub-critical element, which may have received only scant attention in the development phase, is delayed or cannot be sourced.

It is critical that the:

  • Budget
  • Scope / Standard
  • Schedule and
  • Implementation approach

Are all congruent with each other and prepared to an equivalent level of detail / sophistication. Saying “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” is unlikely to be good enough and is often a reliable predictor of problems ahead!

Getting the right budget – its more than just cost cutting

A few days ago, I got a reminder about what seems to be a very useful meeting being run by my engineering institution [Institution of Chemical Engineers] and the Association of Project Managers entitled “Budget, what Budget”[http://www.icheme.org/pdfs/BudgetWhatBudget2PMSGAPM10Dec2010.pdf] in London on 10th December. This focuses on the issues around getting the best budget for your project.

Whilst this is critical, I think it only tells part of the story.

I’ve worked on the front end of projects for many years and know that the initial budget is usually considered to be too high – the costs outweigh the benefits.

So it tends to get reviewed downward thorough a cost cutting exercise – Balancing the costs and benefits by reducing the costsI also know that much of the scope removed in this process tends to creep back in during or after the project – suggesting that it was really needed.

This got me thinking about whether projects are too costly or whether there is just not enough effort put into the justification process.

Balancing the costs and benefits by making the benefits more overt.There needs to be a balance between the two. Here are 10 tips to help you get the right budget for your project by paying attention to the justification process.

1.    It’s all about business

However technologically based the company is they only do projects to gain a business advantage. It may be to cope with changes in the business environment, to respond to competitor action or to meet their own objectives. If you are going to win support, it will be because of the strength of your business case, not the technological.

2.    Understand the process

Your business will have a set of policies, rules and procedures to authorise projects. These are designed to make sure that the right projects get approved and the right ones get rejected. If you don’t understand [and are not prepared to criticise] the process then you will struggle to make a winning case.

3.    Yours is not the only view

Projects involve many different groups, operations, maintenance, marketing, engineering etc. Each has a different perspective on what is important. If you are to win the support of others, you need to understand their perspective.

4.    See the big picture

Your project will be designed to contribute to one or more strategic objectives but may also contribute to other objectives. This may be intended or may be unintended. Make sure that all of the benefits of the project are allowed for in the analysis.

5.    Check sensitivity / assumptions

Virtually every project goes through a cost cutting stage in the justification phase but it is important to note that other assumptions contribute to the assessment of the feasibility of the project. Make sure you understand the contribution to each assumption on the feasibility of the project. Then concentrate your efforts on the right parameters.

6.    Understand the risks

Projects convey us from the present to the future; as a consequence they all involve risks. How you allow for the uncertainties has a big bearing on the outcome of the project. What you know is not that important, it is critical to understand what you don’t know and allow for that. Ideally, you should be using a structured risk identification and management technique.

7.     Don’t open the bidding too low

When the opportunity for a project opens up in our area of interest we naturally want to do all we can to ensure that it is approved and the investment comes our way. This tendency can lead us to suggest a low initial figure for the capital cost. The danger is that this will be cast in stone particular as the “± 30%” caveat we add is missed. It would be better to quote a higher figure and point out that there will be opportunities to reduce the costs. That way you are not painted into a corner.

8.     Value not cost

It is easy to focus on the cost of the various features of the proposed future asset and it is very easy to be drawn into drastic cost reductions to meet the approval hurdles. It is however much more important to concentrate on value and using creative approaches to achieve the desired results more economically.

9.    Market your ideas

However good your ideas are, they will only be accepted if you sell them to the other interested parties. This means spelling out the benefits in business terms [Tip 1] and tailoring your message to the audience[s]. You may need to use a different approach for each group. [Tip 3] You need to lobby for your ideas to be adopted; it won’t happen unless you take action.

10.   Don’t forget WIIFM

The easiest way to get people’s attention is to show them what is in it for them, so make sure that your message to each person or group is focused on “What’s in it for me”