With so many great projects happening in the Public Service Renewal world, we often find ourselves wrapped up in the “what” of the projects. This makes sense — we’re concerns about what it is that we are doing, and where it fits into the larger picture. As projects are launched and reports are written, it is easy to become sit back and look at the project, and then try to decide what project you’ll work on next.
I’ve certainly been guilty of this. While it can be nice to look back on projects, no one wants to look back and bring out the failures that occurred during the process, or look at the content again. It’s important, though, they we look back and do an analysis of the process that we used to get to our (hopefully successful) end.
What I mean is that we’re often so focused on the “what” that we don’t look at the “how”. How did we plan the project? How did we develop our products? How did we consult? How did we advertise the project? How did we work together? The “what” becomes less important for this particular aspect (not saying that it’s not important — it is).
By reflecting, publicly, on the “how”, it allows those of us who are either in the midst of projects, or about to embark on them, to learn from the trials and tribulations of your team. The issue is that we often don’t want to be honest about it. For some reason, there seems to be a perception that if we publicly reflect on the issues we faced in the run of a project cycle, that it somehow lessons the credibility or the perfection of our product. We assume that others will tear apart our project, and doubt its perfection!
Of course, these are myths. The expectation of perfection isn’t there, and even if it was, I can’t imagine any project being perfectly executed, with no sort of internal issues (whether HR, financial, IT, etc). By hiding our strategies for success, we put ourselves into competition with each other, rather than collaborating. If we’re going to spend so much time talking about collaboration, then I don’t want to just see project pages on GCpedia — I also want to see the post-mortems (and honest ones, at that). This is especially true for longer-term projects and ones that involved a large collaborative aspect.
So, hoping beyond hope that some people from Chelsea’s Blog Rally still read this, I ask you: What is the biggest issue you’ve faced in a project? How did you combat it? Would you do it differently now?