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Why The Best Project Reviews Are More Like Pitstops than Reviews

If race teams ran their projects and strategies the way organizations do, they couldn’t win.  But then many project teams don’t feel like they are winning either. There is an exception however – those teams that are running their project reviews more like pitstops.

If race teams devised their strategies or reviewed their key projects the way that most organizations have traditionally done the driver would probably decide not to pull into the pit lane because it wouldn’t increase his, or her chances of winning

As a result, cars would be sliding on bald tires, skidding on wet tracks and retiring due to mechanical failure.  On the winner’s podium would be the driver with the good pit crew and the effective pitstops.

Once a project plan or strategy is created the clock is ticking.  It can suddenly be overtaken by a competitor, or enter into a skid due to changing track conditions.  That means you have to be prepared to pull your strategy, plans and initiatives into the pit lane at any time.  Traditionally this didn’t happen however. Indeed, if race teams approached performance management and strategy the way many organizations do:

  1. Pitstops would only happen sporadically – often at the end of the race, or at least too late in the race for it to have any real impact on the outcome. 
  2. The race strategy set out prior to the race would be adhered to rigidly in spite of changing track conditions, the emerging strategies of competitors, or the feedback of the driver. 
  3. There would be committees rather than pit crews, with a lot more talk than action in the pitlane.  Some of the pit crew would be missing and people would be working away on their own part of the car with little coordination or cross-functional collaboration.
  4. The array of monitors that data analysts use to review data from the car would largely be blank, or populated with historic data rather than real time insights.
  5. Pitstops would be a more relaxed affair – the sense of urgency would disappear – some teams might take up to a half an hour to get the car back in the race.
  6. Drivers would be continually giving out about their cars, blaming the engineers and mechanics and failing to take responsibility for inputting to the design or maintenance of the car.

It is not always possible to see what is around the corner, to predict the moves of a competitor, changes in track conditions, and so on.  That means teams have to be ready to adapt in an instant.  They start the race with a strategy, but if conditions change they will revise, perhaps even scrapping it, if it is no longer working. 

Excerpts from Growth Pitstop Book

 


…the driver would probably decide not to pull into the pit lane because it wouldn’t increase his, or her chances of winning.

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