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5 Lessons for Project Success (en Español)

April 18, 2013

NeverlostThere are some days when commerce needs to quiet, and allow us to pause and reflect for a while. Tuesday was one of those days. Actually, the past week has been one of those days. My personal project manager, (Play)Joyce and I were on what many call “holidays,” and it was. Monday’s holiday project was a drive from Barcelona up the Mediterranean coast, and began with a car rental. Simple, right? Well, after waiting 30 minutes for a Hertz agent to populate the remote shopping center booth (we were late), our rental inflated from a €58 bargain to an €80 change order for full insurance and a GPS.

  • Lesson #1 – Keep your timeline commitments, and make sure you understand what services you’re buying and what you’re not.

The assessment phase of the project revealed that our BMW 1 Series was a nice little ride, but lacked automatic transmission. I had last driven a stick last century, but neither my PM nor I had the appetite for another change order.

  • Lesson #2 – Your product investment may not do everything exactly as expected, so you’ll have to decide whether to spend time and money for customization, or just figure out a way to make it work as designed.

After 30 minutes figuring out how to exit the garage, we emerged to the sunny streets of Barcelona with their narrow lanes and swarms of motor scooters weaving between cars. Our first change order decision was immediately delivering value (and peace of mind). However, our female “NeverLost” GPS was insisting on an inland highway route, and we couldn’t figure out how to program a more rural route along the shore. Yeah, we were “OftenLost.”

  • Lesson #3 – Product marketing can be um, misleading, so feel free to rip it apart with social media ridicule.

Navigating via Spanish road signs and direction was confusing and frustrating, but my PM, aka “Map-Girl,” found our way to the shore with a good old accordion style map. Well, after 3 drive by’s of an ocean-side power plant, and of course that endless rotary loop while she got her bearings… Oh, and once on the beautiful coastal road, “NeverLost” had us positioned for fishing…

  • Lesson #4 – Technology will fail, so have a backup plan and a project manager that can bail you out.

Through the ordeal, tension and frustrations rose, but “MapGirl” and I supported each other, mostly with humor and occasional Spanglish profanity directed at the “NeverLost” girl. We never did reach the little fishing village of Palamós, but we had a wonderful adventure to share with the grand-kids, and we grew closer from the experience.

  • Lesson #5 – A project involving significant investment, high expectations, technology, and complex communications will likely encounter adversity. Make sure you’ve chosen a partner with the skills, experience and commitment to help you successfully navigate it.

I did. I’m NeverLost with MapGirl…

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