Editor's Blog

Mastering the Master Project List

July 18, 2010

Why is it that your staff isn’t quite as excited as you are when you discuss a new project, a new process, a new policy or a habit you want to change?  

Because it’s annoying!  

This is especially true if you have these divine inspirations on a never-ending and never organized fashion. It’s even worse if it’s always you doing the proposing of a new project or putting into place a new change to the work place that they have to live with.  

There’s typically no discipline, no master plan and this usually comes after somebody screwed up something. More likely it’s a half-baked idea to address some kind of weird mistake that may have occurred.  

When do you invite solutions from others? The answer is usually never. Sometimes you may have a meeting to hear their thoughts but you quickly shoot them down so they learn to clam up and many secretly seek to undermine the success of what you’re trying to do.  

Sometimes, a project, a new system or policy change gets put into place as a knee jerk reaction to a crisis. Rarely are they thought out. And almost universally there is little to no buy-in.  

For most of us owners, the thoughts about new projects and instilling new habits comes up upon our return from the great seminar that only we went to, a trade  association meeting or from participating in an online industry chat group.  

There’s no shortage of ideas. There’s a woeful shortage of implementation. There’s a deplorable lack of buy-in.  

And this is where it all falls apart.

What does work?

Creating a Master Project List that is a living breathing document designed to contain all new projects, any proposed changes to systems, processes and policies to the way you do work today.  

As you methodically get input from all your staff on what should be on this Master Project List, you can periodically visit the list as a group and ask which of these multiple projects will either solve your biggest challenge or gives you your greatest change to be profitable.   

Your goal is to reach a Top 30 list. These are the 30 projects and habits that will have the greatest impact on your company if put into place in the next year.  

The last step is to revisit the agreed upon Top 30 and whittle it down one more time by applying the same filter. Think about what are the Top 5 projects and habits among this list that will either solve your biggest challenge or give you your greatest change to be profitable.  

Now, you and your team can work on cranking out the Top Five list. As you complete a project you can rollover something new from the Top 30 list and this is how you get buy-in. You get things done in the right way, in the right order and you address things in a logical way. As you work down the Top 30 list, you revisit the Master Project list and see what should be moved over to the Top 30.  

Keep doing this and you, too, will have Mastered the Master Project List!


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