Welcome to the endgame for a very tough year. There are only 60 working days left in the year. There are roughly 60 working days to complete your value delivery for 2009 and plans for 2010. I use the term roughly both to describe how those days will be and to point out that this is an approximation based on a U.S. holiday schedule, in your company there may be even fewer.
Here are some thoughts on how to look at the last 60 days.
- The business impact of IT is already 90% locked in for 2009, so if you were expecting to have a big business impact finish in the fourth quarter then you should have deployed those solutions no latter than the end of the second quarter June 30th. If you are hanging your hat on a major release in the next 60 days – recognize that all of that business benefit is coming next year.
- You need to triage the work your team is doing right now to make sure you are delivering the most important priorities with the scarce time you have left. Now is not the time to be having resources chasing down small projects, things that do not matter, things that will become business irrelevant. If you still have three or four significant projects out there for delivering in 2009, cancel all of them that are more than two weeks behind schedule and divert those resources to the most important stuff you need to deliver.
- Tie your remaining work to the core drivers of the business. What are you doing now and how does it relate to revenue, customers, free cash flow, reducing capital, building capacity and creating capability. What is the change in business performance based on IT?
- Start your messaging for IT’s accomplishments now. In your status meetings, in your conversations with IT professionals point out the work you have done, the value you have created. You are going to need that recognition and motivation for the final push.
- Validate business expectations for your 2009 accomplishments and the expectations for 2010. This can be a bit tricky, but you need to anchor the business in what IT has done, because for all practical purposes the year is over from a business perspective.
- Lay the foundations for a fast launch for 2010. Look to connect current work with the revenue, customer and operational goals for 2010. You know those goals in some detail now; position the work you do now for when it will really have its benefit – 2010.
- Take a hard look at your organization, its productivity, its flexibility and the fit with the anticipated challenges in 2010. Use these remaining days to get your organizational muscle stronger, and get your organization in the right position for next year. That may require some tough decisions, better you make them now, than have them made for you.
- Finally, recognize that these 60 days fall in the middle of significant holidays around the world. Make sure your reserve some time for you, your personal life and family as these things will be there well after the 60 days are done. Make sure your people are doing the same. After all its only work.
2009 has been a tough year and one of budget cuts coupled with increased demand for IT. The focus of leaders is always on results and the time to complete those results is now. The time to be realistic is now. The time to take the tough decisions to prepare for next year is now.
60 working days and counting