Archives for posts with tag: planning

When I’m in the UK, one of my colleagues and I travel to the office from different ends of a major motorway. I go north, he goes south, and then we reverse our journeys to go home at the end of the day.

His journey is invariably more snarled up than mine. A daily commute that regularly turns sour is a major source of mental ill-being in my opinion.

The other day I was returning to the office from an event and using the length of motorway my colleague uses, which is unusual for me. There was a stretch of roadworks on the motorway. It was about 20 miles in length and had a restricted speed limit of 50 miles an hour, with narrowed driving lanes and more traffic cones than you get grains of sand on a mile-wide beach.

The total amount of ‘road work’ activity on this 20-mile stretch, in mid-afternoon on a mid-week day? None. Not a single vehicle or worker. Zero activity.

This is the lost productivity of negligible roadworks. It’s the cumulative time lost for thousands of travellers, not to mention the increase in annoyance and frustration – increased enough for me to pen this blog 2 weeks after the fact – coming from having to drive at reduced speed for the guts of half an hour.

Who suffers? As usual, the individual. The private citizen, who is a customer of the infrastructure by virtue of having paid their road tax, and a bunch of other taxes besides.

 

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Sovereignty and nationality are interesting concepts where sport is concerned. National lines seem to blur and vary – at least in the islands of Britain and Ireland – depending on the particular sport.

When it comes to Brexit, the question of sporting nationality – UK, GB, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, to name but a few – could get a lot more complicated.

I’m sure sport was the last thing on people’s minds when they contemplated both the Brexit referendum and its aftermath.

I’m sure also that there was no plan for it. There was no ‘what if’ plan to withdraw from the Euro single currency when it was conceived and executed, so when a country does decide that it wants to abandon the Euro and reclaim its sovereign currency, it’ll make for some interesting fallout.

Similarly, it seems abundantly clear that there was no plan for Brexit either, judging by the scrambling around and hasty senior resignations from many of the architects of the shambles.

To brighten your day, here’s a well observed take on the difficulties of sporting nationalities in the current political climate from Foil Arms and Hog, somewhat in the style of CPG Grey. Enjoy.

I had occasion to visit the city of Belfast recently. Despite living within the same landmass for about a dozen years out of the last 17, I had only gone through Belfast on the train and never stopped in it.

It’s a nice, compact city, with a thriving centre and rolling countryside a few minutes away in every direction. Some of the regenerated city centre areas are very swanky and everything seems simply a stone’s throw away.

The folk are very friendly, the food and drink is good and accommodation likewise – at least in my very limited experience.

Unfortunately, like a lot of city centres, the traffic is truly awful. I left – or tried to leave – the centre at about 5pm on a weekday. Admittedly this is the heart of the rush hour, but with the spur onto the motorway a few hundred metres from downtown, I was confident I could get away in a reasonable time.

How wrong I was. Belfast was Belslow. It took me 40 minutes to go 200 metres, the principal culprit being 2 complex junctions within 10 metres of each other which operated on the same traffic light rotation. The result: gridlock, with no-one able to advance everywhere. The pedestrians simply scooted between the cars, blissfully free of the large metallic impediments that I and my fellow drivers were saddled with.

So a great visit to the capital was somewhat soured by the appalling traffic, not helped by the fact that once I got onto the motorway I had another three and a half hours to go.

Once cities sort their private transport challenges out, then they’ll really be motoring.

In our third B2B product launch process step, we were busy gathering our requirements, making sure that we had as much information at our disposal for the next stage.

The fourth step in the B2B product launch process step is to do your planning.

Here’s a process that I find works for me:

  • Work backwards from the launch date
  • Figure out the individual tasks that need to be done by each department or function, noting any dependencies, or sequential tasks that cannot be done until another task has been completed
  • Decide when the tasks need to be done by, in other words how many days before launch
  • Assign an individual responsible for delivering each task
  • Calculate how long each task is going to take
  • Make sure that some individuals or functions don’t have a total of days that looks too challenging to fit in before the launch date. If the total number of days is greater than half the available days for a person or team, they might be too stretched to deliver on time, and you may need to look at scaling back their tasks or finding someone else to help out
  • Plot when all the tasks need to start. As each task naturally becomes a line item on a spreadsheet, you can then monitor progress as you go

With your planning done, you can set about getting your people ready to execute, and get into the fifth stage.

The number thirteen. Unlucky for some. But not for you. You’ve done the hard work on your B2B marketing, crafting your strategy, developing a plan for making it happen, working the detail, and getting it approved by your team mates and the powers that be.

Thirteen is a good thing for you.

The thirteenth B2B Marketing Step is execute, executing on your plan for your project or quarter or year. Go do that thing, make it happen! Turn your plan into reality and get it done.

When I’m preparing to write anything significant, I spend a disproportionately large amount of time deciding on the outline for it. Often I will then write the introduction, and then the conclusion, before turning to the body of the document. I find that if I don’t spend a good amount of time on the planning, and I cut corners, then it takes me correspondingly longer to finish the document. This is because I haven’t thought it through properly and it doesn’t have the right structure or flow. It doesn’t hang together nor is it convincing.

It’s all in the preparation. Cooking, doing an important presentation or speech, tackling an essay at school, there’s a feeling of release – or is it relief – when you’ve done the prep, or built the outline. It feels like half the battle and you know you’re on solid ground from hereon in. The rest follows more easily, hanging comfortably on the framework of a solid beginning, middle and end.

Does this mean I’m denigrating the benefits or merits of spontaneity? Not really. There’s so much to be said for going with the flow and sometimes the best of times come from spur-of-the-moment behaviour. It all depends on the situation :-).