Sunday, 1 February 2015

In the end there is no "In the end"

Projects and events are finite but, unless you're a journeyman project manager or an events manager, they have to live in the context of the organisation or service that they serve. As such they are episodes in a longer serial narrative rather than stand-alone short stories.

There are a number of ways in which these episodes are embedded in the narrative. The past is part of the backdrop and rationale for the activity. The activity itself is — for good or ill — a landmark in the narrative but this is static. The resources employed and delivered are identified in the business case and in the lessons learned process but these only provide the potential for the future narrative, they don't impel it.

So what does get the narrative moving?

"What happens next?"

  • What happens next? = continuous service improvement
  • What happens next? = business case for future projects
  • What happens next? = sustainable service delivery

If your organisational reaction to a project or event is to push it into the drawer marked "History" you're losing the benefit of experience and you have to wonder why on earth you bothered in the first place. Similarly, if it doesn't evoke a "what happens next?" response perhaps you shouldn't have done it in the first place.

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