Software Implementation is not like Candyland. First, take a card, and move a few spots. Then, take another card, and move another few places. Repeat until the game ends.
Implementation is more like chess. It requires an active mind, an understanding of the pieces on the board, an understanding of your opponent (change, in this case), and the flexibility and grit to move around newly found constraints throughout the game. But, most importantly, you must practice to be good at it—lots of practice.
The point here and why I think it’s important is that when you are taking on an implementation – you have to be aware that, although many implementations have been done before, it’s not automatic. It’s not about following instructions. You can’t be a cog and expect to be successful in implementation. Environments change, people change, finances change, success metrics change, and stakeholders change. Any one of these changes requires an active and flexible implementation leader.
To be successful in an implementation – you have to think of yourself as a chess player. You have to have a solid foundation and understanding of the elements. You have to have a solid plan from the start. But you also have to be creative. Willing to forge new paths. Accept new data and details – and react to them based on your experience.
Candyland wants you to follow instructions.
Chess wants you to plan, leverage your previous knowledge, and form your path based on your experience. But, remember, a plan is just a plan – it should not be too rigid as not to allow flexibility in delivery.
References and Resources
Seth Godin – Linchpin: I borrowed this story from this book.
Originally Posted Dec. 27, 2017