Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why Good Work Is Never Waste

Once upon a time, I worked on a project with one of my team members that ended up a flop. We've all had failures (unless you haven't worked long enough), but sometimes they feel colossal, even if the failure was not our fault. This particular project went through multiple iterations and a good chunk of IT's development dollars before we cancelled it due to inability to match the functionality with what the users were seeking.

A few years later, I had a heavy role in the implementation of a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. It was a top industry pick, and one that we felt was going to revolutionize our sales process and methodology. A few months before implementation (but almost one year after we had started), some executives pulled the plug on it.

Both of these projects could be chalked up as complete time wasted. Teams spent countless hours working on projects that never saw the light of day. But neither of these were wasted.

The first project got resurrected from a different group who focused primarily on the user interface and experience. When that project got the green light to go forward, the knowledge of the previous project helped the team to avoid similar pitfalls and also make sure the new design covered all of the functionality it needed to cover.

The second project has yet to be resurrected, but the suggestion has come up time and time again. Knowledge of the decisions surrounding the first project have been beneficial in guiding the conversations going forward to make sure that if we do proceed with this project in the future, we approach it with a level of caution that allows us to avoid some of the traps that ended up killing it the first time around.

All in all, I've come to determine that nothing done in the right spirit of helping the company is ever wasted. The experience may not be a determining factor of whether or not to try the project again in the future, but it does provide useful intelligence to help guide smarter decision-making when trying to tackle the same or similar problems in the future.

Do you have any projects that have failed or been killed? What did you learn from them? What would you say to someone trying to tackle the same project in the future that might help them succeed where prior efforts failed?

Image credit: stevepb via Pixabay