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Stick and torch

Posted By Sandon Nachmann, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

(Editor's note: this post originally appeared on the blog in the CU Project Management networking group. This group is open to credit union staff in the Carolinas who have a registered web site address. Please click here to view and join the group.) 

Written by: Sandon Nachmann, Coastal CU. 

Do you remember that project that was implemented at your CU two years ago?  You know the one that promised increased efficiencies, member satisfaction, and direct costs savings?  It’s a good thing that was implemented because your employees are now saving about 2 hours of manual work each day.  Or maybe it’s an hour each day… actually I’m not really sure.  Without a doubt though we’re saving a lot money each month, or at least that’s what we were promised when it went live.


Sound familiar?  How many times have you implemented a project and gone back months later to see if it accomplished its goals?  My guess is it almost never happens.  Post project evaluation is an important part of the project management process and its almost always overlooked.  A great way to accomplish this is by using the “Stick & Torch” approach.


Stick - First, evaluation is about accountability.  It’s a measuring ‘stick’ that can be used to justify the existence of the project.


Torch – Second, evaluation is about project improvement.  It’s a developmental process – a ‘torch’ that helps illuminate problems and recognize good practice.  This reduces the likelihood of repeating mistakes.


Simply put the stick and torch approach is not about beating and burning, it’s about measuring and learning.


With that here are three measurements we can look at:


1. Issues - What were the problems/issues the project was trying to solve? 


Was a business case developed and approved prior to the project going live?  If so the problems/issues the project was trying to solve should be clearly defined in the business case.  Need help with your business case? ** Stay tuned for future posts.


2. Results - How has the project succeded in its intentions? If it hasn’t, describe. 


The project as supposed to save money right?  Well has it?  How about the efficiencies that were promised, did they actually pay off?


3. Impact – What has been the impact of the project?  Good or bad…


Overall how did the project go?  Were members positively or negatively impacted?  Did anything significant come out of the project?  Maybe you were able to build a project plan template for future similar projects…


A good project management program should include a lessons learned in the project closure, but really the project process shouldn’t end there.  The project is officially complete when you go back after a period of time and apply the stick & torch.

Tags:  Management 

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