Failure is far easier to achieve than success.
Gartner concluded in a recent study that among all new enterprise initiatives, ninety-percent (90%) fail to have measurable success. They either expect inordinate returns, aim for unreachable goals, allocate far shorter time than necessary, fail to calculate costs beyond technology, or improperly staff the project (wrong skills or insufficient people).
It all points to the lack of a strategy.
Failure does not happen when your strategy correctly identifies the goals and metrics to measure, the expected results, and the methods to achieve those results. “Black Box” processing (where something magic or mysterious happens to achieve the expected results) never works. You may get lucky once, but luck is not a measure of success.
Success is planned – same as failure is planned.
I wrote in a post recently that the secret to success is to effectively deliver a solution at 80% of perfection, and work on the other 20% through iterations as time went by. I was derided as calling for mediocre solutions to be released. In reality, aiming for a solution that solves 80% of the problems initially and continues to improve over time makes for a far easier way to measure success.
Programs like Six-Sigma, Total Quality Management, and Just-in-time Management know that you cannot implement a 100% perfect solution at first try – that is why they become better with time.
Could you succeed with a solution that addresses 80% of the problem at first?
The 90% failure rate should not deter you from starting your initiative. It should instead propel you to find out the best practices available, create a reasonable strategy, set realistic goals (around 80% of your first-intended goals), determine the metrics to reach that goal, and plan towards is. In other words, create a strategy for your initiative before it becomes doomed for failure.
Plan for success and you will succeed, plan for failure and you will also succeed.
What are you best practices for success? Could you deliver an 80%-perfect solution? Have you? What do you think?