Memorial Day is a national holiday in the U.S when we set aside time to remember the sacrifices of the men and woman who have given their lives to their country. Many other countries have similar days of remembrance and this post is in no way intended to say that those days are any less important than the one celebrated today in the U.S.
Memorial Day also represents the unofficial start of summer. Technically summer does not start until June 21st and June 30th represents the 181st day of the calendar year. But for all practical purposes 2010 is just about finished leaving little room to create and deliver new solutions and strategies that are not already in your plans.
Memorial Day represents the logical 2/3rds mark for enterprises and the potential of their actions in 2010 to have an impact on this year’s results. The reasons behind this are simple.
U.S. companies have just finished the longest unbroken string of workdays 74 straight between Memorial day and President’s Day, the prior Federal Holiday in Mid February. This was the ‘home stretch’ when everyone was expected to be working. That time is gone.
The summer work schedule is fragmented with national holidays occurring every 22 days until Labor Day in September. That coupled with the summer vacation season creates scheduling and mobilization schedules as not everyone you need may be available when you need them.
In Europe the summer holidays are often accompanied by extended vacations reducing productivity and creating resource-scheduling challenges
South of the equator, many enterprises close their books on June 30th – the end of their fiscal year. This means that they are well into their fourth quarter operations, wrapping up projects and preparing to execute FY 2011 initiatives.
The close of the second quarter of the fiscal year occurs at the end of June, this will mean another round of budget and financial forecasts and potentially budget cuts to shore up the third quarter and year end earnings.
The window for completing that will have a positive impact on FY 2010 results is fast closing. Just assume that you need three months of productive experience to prove that solutions are working and take away a month for closing the fiscal year.
September 17th 2010
Is the last logical day to release new solutions
That is 76 workdays from June 1st. Not including taking one day for: The 4th of July and Labor Day. During that time only June (22) and August (22) will be months without a public holiday, but with summer vacations. A two-week vacation during either of these two months effectively cuts the available days in half.
CIOs and IT executives facing up to this reality have a few options.
1) Solidify the projects you have deployed before Memorial Day. Concentrate on their deployment and benefits realization, as those are the solutions that will deliver the lion’s share of results for FY 2010.
2) Focus resources on completing projects during the June time period when many families still have children in school. Any project you can potentially finish in the next 20 working days should be a top priority.
3) Come clean on projects that will either not start or finish before the last logical day – September 17th. If the project is not going to have a positive impact on 2010, then you have to think about the value of doing it at all.
4) Consider sacrificing these projects, the ones that either have not started or will not finish in time, if you need to cut investment dollars as part of forecasting for the last half of the year.
5) Start the IT strategic planning process NOW. 2011 plans and high level targets are already starting to form and now is the time to set expectations and identify projects that you will complete in 2010 but that will not generate value until 2011.
6) Get your vacation in the calendar now and take it. Delaying vacation until things are going good will mean delaying it for the rest of the year. There is never a great time to be out of the office but you, your family and friends need you to take a break.
Memorial Day is a time to remember the sacrifices others have made and continue to make for everyone in the U.S. It is also a time to step back and reflect how far we have come through difficult times in 2010 and recognize the time we have left this year to make our own difference.
I hope all of you in the U.S. have had an enjoyable and meaningful holiday. For everyone, best wishes for the summer and success for the remainder of 2010. Have a fun and safe summer.