What's Your Priority - Schedule, Budget or Quality?Dec 27, 2021
Earlier this year we decided to refurbish a powder room. We thought it was an easy project to work on as we geared up to take on other rooms in our house. After all it’s the smallest room in the house.
We decided to DIY. We’d save money. We’d save time. And we’d be able to control the quality of the final product.
What were we thinking??
It started with replacing the vanity sink with a pedestal sink. We then realized when we removed the vanity that we’d also need to replace the floor, which was unfinished under the vanity, and we’d have to paint, the wall behind the vanity was unfinished. As the scope grew – so did the cost and timeline.
When the scope changed, we committed to quality being our non-negotiable.
We saved some money by taking a DIY approach. We certainly spent more that originally planned due to the scope creep.
By taking a DIY approach we were in control of our timing. However, we intended to have the project done and unveiled when we had family over on Easter Sunday. Instead, we diverted our guests to another bathroom on Easter and actually had a ribbon cutting for the refurbished powder room on Mother’s Day. Another result of false starts and creeping scope.
We stay focused on quality - we ended up with a lovely powder room, and we have pride in our accomplishment.
Bottom line – by staying focused on quality when the scope increased – we spent a little more than expected and took much longer than planned. We are happy with the final product – but the process was frustrating.
Know your priorities
When you launch a new project you focus on schedule, budget, quality. There’s a saying in project management - pick 2, you can’t have all 3. Typically, one of these three components is fixed and the other two are impacted to accommodate the fixed component.
For example, let’s say that your response time service level agreement is fixed at 24-hours. Then the volume of customer inquiries increases (let’s say for example you are leading a contact center at Walt Disney World when a hurricane hits Central Florida). In order to meet your committed response time you either need to (1) pay more to have more resources responding to the inquiries, or (2) reduce the quality of responses to improve transaction time.
You need to understand your trade-offs.
What Could Go Wrong?
When you start a project are you defining your non-negotiable? Or do you have multiple non-negotiables? Scope creep is a real thing and you need to be ready to make decisions about what you can be flexible with. If your budget is fixed – know that you will need to compromise on quality or timing. If your timing is fixed – know that you need to compromise on budget or quality. Often times quality AND timing are both non-negotiable – you will have to be flexible on budget at that point.
These same principles apply whether you are managing a project or an operation. Did your volume increase in advance of the holidays? Are you expecting a spike in volume after the first of the year? What are your drivers of daily, weekly, monthly volume? What have you learned that changed the scope of your project?
If you don’t have clarity around what is fixed – you can risk missing all three … your schedule, budget and quality goals.
If you’re looking at your 2022 goals and would like a partner to work with to help you reach those goals please reach out and let’s talk! If you are working on contingency plans to handle increased volume, or decreased staffing, I’d love to be a part of that work.
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I’m Heather Havey. My consulting business brings the art of Disney and science of GE to clients looking to transform their operations. I help clients fix, build and grow their businesses through a unique combination of analytical skills, contact center leadership, project implementation experience and an obsession with employee and customer engagement.
My passion for relationship building and Six Sigma discipline is infused into every project. With 20 years at Disney combined with 10 years at GE, I am equipped to help clients improve their employee engagement, deliver a world class customer service experience and optimize their existing resources.
Whether you are a large service-oriented business with a desire to level up your customer service operation by benchmarking the Disney Guest experience, or a small to mid-sized business in growth mode looking to define or formalize customer service and recovery processes … I offer customized, no-nonsense, real-world solutions designed to position you as the hero in the reinvention of your business.
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