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The Patient Planner
Good things come to those who wait
In the bustling office of Pinnacle Tech, Sam was known as the go-to project manager. Eager to start a new venture, the company's CEO, Alex, approached Sam with an ambitious new project that promised great returns. "Sam, we need to get moving on this ASAP!" Alex exclaimed.
Without hesitation, Sam asked, "What is our ultimate goal with this project, Alex?"
Alex, slightly taken aback, responded, "To make a profit, of course! And to boost our brand's visibility."
"Ah," said Sam, "But what do 'profit' and 'visibility' mean in this context? Can we define it further?"
A little impatient, Alex replied, "We want to increase our quarterly revenues by 15% and get featured in the top industry magazines."
Sam nodded. "Good. Now, how do you propose we achieve this?"
"We dive right in! We have the resources, and every department is ready to give their best."
"Alex, have you ever heard of the local optima versus global optima concept from the Theory of Constraints?" Sam asked.
Seeing Alex's blank expression, Sam continued, "In simple terms, each department can individually perform at their peak – that's local optima. But we need a global optimum for the company to function at its best as a whole system. We could rush now and have each department work hard. Still, without alignment, not only might we miss the bigger picture, but we'll also face delays later. People will have questions, find that too many of their assumptions don't hold up, and we'll end up spending more time on rework and clarification."
Curious, Alex inquired, "So, what do you suggest?"
"This is where benefit mapping comes into play," Sam started, his enthusiasm evident. "Benefit mapping provides a language and framework specifically designed for planning projects. By focusing on this, we're not merely jotting down tasks. Instead, we're understanding the why and the how of each action and how they tie into our desired outcomes. Moreover, it will culminate in a Benefit Breakdown Structure diagram, giving everyone a clear context for their work during the project."
Alex considered this. "So you're saying, with benefit mapping, each team will know not just what they're doing, but why they're doing it?"
"Exactly," Sam confirmed. "And when everyone understands the bigger picture, the individual tasks make more sense, leading to more efficient and aligned efforts."
Alex, still contemplating, finally asked, "But won't this delay our start?"
Sam smiled, "Have you ever watched the famous Guinness ad with the surfer?"
"Of course! The one where they wait for the perfect wave?"
"Exactly," Sam responded. "Just like how the surfer waits patiently for the right moment to ride the wave, we need to wait and plan properly before diving into this project. Good things come to those who wait."
Alex agreed and was intrigued and convinced by Sam's Socratic method to make him reflect deeply on the project's objectives.
The team invested their initial weeks in rigorous benefit mapping, ensuring a clear and comprehensive Benefit Breakdown Structure. When they finally launched the project, it was a streamlined process with minimal hiccups.
Three months later, not only did Pinnacle Tech see a 20% increase in their revenues, but they were also featured on the cover of the industry's leading magazine. The entire company celebrated, raising a toast to proper planning, patience, and the wisdom of waiting for the perfect wave.