Do you know what you are doing? – And do you have a plan on how to get there?
I wrote a post on making sure you really know what you are being asked to produce before you run off and try to create it. But I was thinking that is really half the battle. An important half, a step I have seen skipped many times, a step you need before doing anything else, but again it's not everything you need for success. So first make sure you really know what you are being asked to do. Then you also need a plan for how you are going to meet that need.
Too many times I have seen employees rush in to do "it." Or to fix "it." The hero mentality kicks in and the plan becomes "I am going to work really hard till 'it's' done." Great attitude! And commendable. But I have rarely seen this work in the end, or at least work as efficiently as it could have. Normally the "jump in and do it" way ends up killing the person doing the work (the hero) in the long run and frustrating everyone else around them. It's Ready, Fire, Aim, aim, aim….
In every case I have run into it has always been better to take the time (from, at least, a few seconds [for a fire] to a few minutes [for the web site is down] to a few hours [we have a tight deadline and need to get this done]) to:
- Plan the attack
- Assign resources and roles
- Pull together a timeline with milestones and deliverables based on those resources
- Do a little risk mitigation and alternative planning
- And get feedback on the whole plan
Ready, Aim, Fire! Much more likely to hit the target!
Of course this is basic project management, but it seems when something is urgent we throw those tried and true principles out the window. When we have an incredibly tight deadline isn't that the most important time to make sure we have the best likelihood of success the first time?