The old saying “Good fences make good neighbors” probably dates back to the mid-17th century. It connects us to a time when a good fence kept my cows out of your garden.

So what does that have to do with an SPC software deployment in the 21st century?

Any time you launch a corporate initiative as important as an enterprise SPC software deployment, you need objectives and a project charter. The charter paints the picture of what you want in your project garden:

  • What are the high level objectives?
  • Why is this deployment important?
  • What does success look like?
  • Who is going to be involved in the effort?
  • How big is the project?

These questions are essential, and the first ones you should consider. But in my experience, they aren’t enough. You also need to consider what you’re *not* going to include in the project. In other words, you need boundaries around your project. You need a fence.

All too often projects suffer from “scope creep.” There are lots of reasons for this. Sometimes a team’s vision expands as it learns about all the possibilities. At other times, a team can lack clarity about what is essential and what would just be “nice to have.” And yet other times, there is such a backlog of need that there is an unrealistic expectation about how much progress the organization can achieve in a first step.

Whatever the reason, putting a fence around the project can help ensure its success. I’ll even go so far as to say that in today’s business environment, when most organizations are understaffed and stretched too thin, failure to put a fence around a project is a recipe for disaster.

What you need in the early stages of an SPC software deployment is quick success. Don’t let the project scope expand. Letting the project grow beyond the confines of what you and your team can manage while you still do “your day jobs” is scope creep. Scope creep inevitably leads to disappointment and wasted effort, neither of which you can afford.

So what will you leave out? Here are some questions that might help you make some of those hard decisions:

  • What is our budget for this effort?
  • How much time are we prepared to commit to it?
  • What other initiatives do we have that are competing for the same resources?
  • What aspects of this trial are essential, and which are peripheral?

Do you have a clear vision for this project? Is it prioritized? Is the prioritization shared by all stakeholders? Are you prepared to commit the resources to get the job done? Please leave a comment, or  write to me at ejmiller [at] hertzler [dot] com. I’d love to hear from you.