There are many difficulties with starting a project once a bid has been successful. It can be hard to get started, and find the right approach, and to find time to think about a new challenge on top of a normal workload. A common experience, reinforced by discussions at our recent Action Learning Set, is that the original scope can, in retrospect, seem too ambitious in proportion to the resources available. The important thing is not to panic! A project can always be steered back on track with a bit of re-focusing and refreshing, in fact it is an unusual project that does not change shape along the way to some extent. As long as the original objectives are kept in sight, and plans made to deliver the promised outcomes, the organisation should be able to find some real and lasting benefits from the experience. We need to be strategic, which is why is was great to meet with Sarah last month and get her enthusiastic approval of our plans for completing Transform.
Our project is broadlly about looking at records management in 6 key areas, and exploring improvements that might be achieved by encouraging a shift from paper to electronic systems. We already knew it would be important to seize opportunites arising from changes already planned, such as an efficiency programme in the finance department, and we have since identified synergies with other initiatives. However it became apparent that going into each of the 6 areas in great depth could involve so much mapping and documenting of processes that it could detract from the more important creative work. Instead we will now focus on one set – committee records – in depth for the remaining 6 months, and take a lighter look at each of the other 5 records sets in turn, one per month, applying some of what we are learning from our main study. This approach has breathed new life into the project, and re-energised it.