06 Nov Good data leads to good results, but clear understanding is how people make the results happen
At Setpoint, our Project Management for Profit system is built on data, regular, accurate,
timely information about COGS, expenditures and labor hours. To make timely decisions, we also rely on a steady inflow of related data—for example customer expectations, potential
change orders, possible price supplier changes, progress of our subcontractors, and on how the rest of the business is doing.All businesses today run on some form of data, however the trouble is the data we receive isn’t always accurate. Forgotten time sheets, a modified purchase order, a small mistake in the company’s books. A good project management system is robust, and large mistakes are likely to show up and can be quickly corrected them, but if the mistakes are too frequent, they will undermine the system’s effectiveness. Accuracy and timeliness are important factors, however we believe clarity and simplicity are equally important.Despite having really smart engineers or accountants on your staffs, most people look at a dense collection of numbers and instantly tune out. Our team at Setpoint went from a “scoreboard” in the form of a printed spreadsheet to a scoreboard in the form of a big, hand-lettered whiteboard. We discovered that most people find it easier to both understand handwritten numbers, and they process and to are much more open to discuss the issues if the figures are on a computer screen or printout.We have found that people, real people, our people respond and contribute when more when we simplify the scoreboard. Let your people get accustomed to the numbers gradually, and concentrate on just a few at a time. Explain what they mean, and don’t hesitate to repeat yourself. Answer questions, and expect to answer the same question more than once. In all this, give yourself the ability to succeed by making sure that you understand what the numbers are saying before you get in front of your team to present. Nothing will damage your credibility faster than having someone ask a “why” question that you can’t answer.
Source: Project Management for Profit by Roger Thomas, Joe Knight and Brad Angus, together with Joe Cornwell and Joe VanDenBerge from Setpoint Inc. Setpoint ha
s a 25-year history of successfully designing and implementing custom rides and attractions for the top amusement and theme parks in the world.