Shortening Projects / Time to Market

Shortening Projects / Time to Market

The big idea here is that it’s possible to complete projects much more quickly than we do at the moment. By treating each project day as being precious and irreplaceable, you get far more productivity from that day – at the same time avoiding working long hours, burnout and death march projects.

If all of this sounds too good to be true – and you can be skeptical about it if you want – just look at the organisations who have successfully used this technique:

Interxion, European Commission, Teamsoft, Bank of Ireland, Clinical Grid, Davy Stockbrokers, Elan, Ulster Bank, Coca Cola, EPC, Eastern Health Shared Services, Special Olympics World Games 2003, National Grid, Douglas Wallace, Irish Cervical Screening Programme, Anord, Repak (Ireland’s 5-year Recycling Strategy), Valista, Motricity, Programme of Action for Children, Stryker and Xeltis.

Three of these projects involved the mergers of two companies.  The Special Olympics World Games 2003 was planned by repeated applications of this technique.  We worked with Coca Cola to plan a 700 man-year project using this technique.

Here’s what one person says about the approach:

“We used this technique on two mission-critical projects.  I was very skeptical that this could be done in a day but I was there – I saw it with my own eyes.  This stuff works.”                                                                                             – Raomal Perera, Serial Entrepreneur & Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at INSEAD

How it Works

There are four phases to Shortening Projects / Time to Market:

  1. Scoping & Planning the Project in a Day
  2. Strip Boarding the Plan
  3. The Mission Briefing 
  4. Project Execution.

A full scale, industrial strength example of using this approach is described in this book

1 Scoping & Planning the Project in a Day

Instead of the traditional approach to scoping and planning a project – meetings, brainstorming sessions, workshops, review cycles – you can concertina all of those actvities into one focussed day. The outputs are a project scope document and a project plan in Gantt Chart form.

 pages 93-128

How it works Plan A Project In A Day

2 Strip Boarding the Plan

This is the key step where the Gantt Chart from the first phase is converted into a plan at the day level of detail.

 pages 101-135

Example of a strip board Strip Board version 2

3 The Mission Briefing

It’s the scene from a dozen WWII movies where the aircrews are talked through what their mission will be.

 pages 137-166

4 Project Execution

One of the many (and quite unexpected) benefits of Shortening Projects / Time to Market is the way tracking the prject becomes childishly simple.

 pages 167-217