When I worked in consulting, the partner involved in many of my projects always said,
“Plan the work. Work the plan.”
I doubt he was the originator of this principle, but it is an excellent truism.
In health IT, there are many, many projects underway. Prior to HITECH and Meaningful Use, there were still new applications being implemented, new workflows being supported, and new connections to distribute or receive patient results happening. Layered on top of these initiatives are the new legislative and regulatory requirements, forcing a whole new level of project intensity upon many hospital, radiology, lab, and clinic IT departments.
Given the complexities, it is good to return to simple project management axioms. A very relevant one is “plan the work, work the plan.”
Plan the work. Any project with a reasonable impact should be have a plan. Key planning elements should include:
- Key objectives
- Identified customers (beneficiaries of the end result and users within the workflow)
- Essential project activities and dependencies
- Who is responsible for doing what
- Relevant, meaningful metrics
- Identified outcome – how will you know when the team has achieved success?
It doesn’t need to be complex, but it does need to contain elements on how to move the project from Point A to Point B to Point E (i.e., the Endpoint). There are various project approaches to take. Many of these were discussed in a previous post: HITECH Timelines – Project Management Considerations.
Work the plan. A plan is living. If it sits on your C: drive or on your desk, then you just wasted a lot of time putting it together. A working plan needs to:
It is a harmonious cycle of action:
- Plan the work
- When the plan is done, begin work – full speed ahead!
- As the work is done and new things are learned, re-plan (update) the work plan
- Continue the work
- Do. Repeat. Do. Repeat. Do. Success!
So, keep a good attitude. Keep doing the good work.
Health IT CIOs, directors, managers, and all professionals are doing noble, needed work. You are enabling a new health care system, putting citizen-patients in the middle and delivering higher quality results and interaction.
Use the “Plan the work, work the plan” axiom; it works, and it will move your projects forward successfully.
Tags: Health IT Matters, Project Management