Sunday, August 12, 2012

Picking a pilot project

In every class I teach, pilot projects come up for discussion, to which I respond: pilots are good. It's a learning experience, and it's a way to work out the message when you take it mainstream.

What makes a good pilot? Mike Cohn has a posting on this, and as an extra added feature, he has drawn a swell zen diagram to put it all at a moment's glance.

Mike's advice:
  • Pick a project that is mid-size for your enterprise re duration and budget
  • Be sure to pick a project that has some stakeholder support
  • Pick a project that is obviously important--but not too important

So, don't do these things
  • Don't wade into a "wicked" social policy problem and offer a quick fix on a small piece of the puzzle
  • Don't pick a project that is too fuzzy on 'done', competing too much with on-going operations, and thereby muddying the metrics
  • Don't pick a project that is "bet the business" for either a stakeholder or the enterprise. If you're going to gore someone's ox, pick a small ox.
In other words:
  • Pick something you can actually get done
  • Pick something that you can actually measure the difference with some benchmarks of other methods
  • Pick something that functional managers are like to cooperate with (not too many functional nemisis while you work out the method kinks)
  • Pick something that will exercise the methodology you want to adopt. No point in piloting only one or two points of a new method
Got it?!

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