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Project Implementation from Setting Metrics to Celebrating Success

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The three stages of any project are goal setting, planning, and implementation. If any of these phases are neglected, the project will either go astray or stall. To keep stress low, a person wants to have strengths in all three areas and the self-confidence and self-awareness to ask for help in areas of weakness. 

The JB Partners Implementation Diagram (SMaRT Tool “Make Implementing Easy”) shows these stages clearly. Merely following the steps from point A to Z may complete the project, but it falls short of letting you know whether you have met your goals, addressed potential problems, and provided information that can guide your next steps and future projects. That’s why successful implementation depends on how often and how well you measure your progress, make corrections, check in with your team, and resolve problems.

TIP: If it sounds as if you are starting over with Problem Analysis, you might be. As we said in the beginning, this is a cycle of awareness that you are actively engaged in. 

Measure Your Progress: Metrics

Project implementation requires keeping a close eye on metrics, which measure your progress toward your goal. Let’s say the goal is to increase sales by 15% in a given region within 6 months through sales team training, identifying and selling to new customers, and upselling to existing customers.

As a leader, you are responsible for monitoring progress on the intermediate goals (for example, completion of training) as well as progress toward to final goal (increased sales).

To implement metrics, you must make sure:

  • The metric aligns with what the company wants to accomplish: In this case, the number and length of cold calls are less important than whether cold calling actually adds customers.
  • The metric is achievable and relevant: Is your phone system able to support an increase in call volume? Do existing customers want more visits?
  • You have the tools for measuring that metric: If you depend on sale people to track their own cold calls, are you sure they are not merely dialing and hanging up? Instead, you might measure the number of cold calls that result in a follow-up sales meeting or a sales order.

TIP: You cannot measure everything. Prioritize your metrics according to the strengths of your team and the needs of your stakeholders/customers, as well as your goals.


Here’s an example of a personal nature:

Goal – Save $2500 over the next year so I can take a vacation.

Aligning Metrics: Stick to the weekly budget so there is $48.10 in the checking account every Friday to automatically transfer to the vacation fund.

Achievable and Relevant Metrics: By bringing lunch to work each day and drinking coffee at work instead of stopping at a local café, saving $48.10 will be an easy accomplishment.

Tracking Metrics: I will know if I’m going over my budget by how often I go out to eat and for coffee. I will also be able to track my vacation funds each week by the transferred made and know if the account is on track.

Make Corrections: Analysis and Course Correct

Analyzing metrics as they come in enables you to determine whether the original estimates of time, cost, and resources are still valid. If not, you need to figure out ways to course correct. 

For example, if you are falling behind schedule in your training, you might want to train a bigger group of people at one time or you might refocus training on team members who need it most. If the budget for traveling to customers is overextended, you may want to consider changing the routes assigned to each salesperson so that traveling is more efficient. 

Personal Example

If your savings is off track, consider cutting other expenses until it gets back on track. Or consider adding in an easy, secondary income to supplement your saving practices.

By keeping an eye on metrics, you are also able to prevent problems, such as stress on your team, a deterioration in customer relationships (or other measure of quality), and a failure to meet the intermediate goals.

To implement mid-project corrections:

  • Review your current situation: Is the goal still relevant and achievable? Maybe your project implementation so far has already increased sales 15%—should you try to exceed your goal? Maybe you have fallen far behind schedule and training hasn’t helped—should you eliminate training altogether?
  • Look not only for challenges but for new opportunities: Have prices fallen on a particular airline enabling cheaper travel? Does upselling work better when visits are shorter? What has any failure taught you?
  • Make sure your metrics are measuring the right thing: Why exactly are sales increasing? Is the increase due to more cold calls or a better cold call script or a change in your sales people’s attitude when they call?

Check-in with Your Tribe: Reports & Meetings

Both effective metrics and course correction during project implementation depend on regular information exchange with your team. You need to know what they have accomplished toward the metrics and they need to know if you are making course corrections and changes. 

Schedule reports and meetings carefully. Unfortunately, some teams will spend more time writing reports and attending meetings than they actually spend on the project. You may benefit from: 

  • Creating a report format that is quick and easy to fill out, gathering uniform information that directly translates into metrics. 
  • Scheduling more one-on-one meetings than team meetings, to avoid taking up everyone’s time. 
  • Establishing a clear agenda, time limit, and tight control over side issues and conversations in every team meeting. 

To implement effective reports and meetings:

  • Begin with a project start-up meeting that outlines the goals and metrics you are going to track: Your team needs to know where they are heading and why.
  • Establish the rules for meetings and reports: For example, everyone must show up on time for meetings and reports are always due on Friday by 10 a.m.
  • Allow for two-way communication: If you close your door to your team, a problem may grow out of control before you are aware of it.
  • Use clear language and visuals as needed: Use active listening and ask for feedback to make sure that your words are being understood in the way you intended without unnecessary repetition. Demonstrate when needed.
  • Keep stakeholders involved: You do not want to get to the end of the project and discover that stakeholders have changed their goal or requirements.

TIP: You can become numb to the numbers if reports are filled with nothing but statistics. Make sure you are gathering the information that, when collated, will help you see where you are in the project and where you are going.

Resolve Problems: SMaRT Strategies

Communication helps ensure that problems are identified before they escalate into crises and allows you and  your team to share ideas on how to better meet the metrics. When problems and obstacles occur, your reliance on SMaRT strategies will help resolve them.

For example, the welfare of your team has a significant impact on their ability to meet metrics. Your SMaRT strategies for performance management, prioritization, and controlling stress in your team will come in handy for avoiding overwhelm and keeping your team on track.

A team member might want to share a sales technique or an idea about an explored market. You or the team might see major drawbacks. Now is the time to use SMaRT strategies for critically examining ideas and for group problem solving.

To implement SMaRT problem solving:

  • Concentrate on lessons learned: Once the problem is identified, blaming merely adds stress to the team and creates a disgruntled team member.
  • Establish a change control policy: That way no team member or stakeholder “goes rogue” and the project stays on track.
  • Keep an eye on quality: If you meet every metric at the cost of quality, you may find that the project fails even though all the goals were met. For example, you increase sales 15% but your company is unable to deliver on time; next year, half your customers desert you.
  • Show appreciation and celebrate: When the team knows that their contribution and effort is appreciated, they will continue to give you the high-quality results you are looking for.

Project implementation covers more than following steps until an assignment is complete. It requires establishing metrics to know whether you are succeeding in your goal and whether you need to course correct. It requires attention to communications and SMaRT problem solving.

Key Takeaways

Project implementation covers more than following the steps until an assignment is complete. It requires establishing metrics to know whether you are succeeding in your goal and whether you need to course-correct. It requires attention to communications and SMaRT problem-solving.

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