What’s Your End-Game Play?

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on February 03, 2009 in: Project Management

If you’ve clicked through the services I offer on this site, you’ll notice that a lot of it is related to the management and implementation of projects; of turning complex concepts into completed reality.

One of the most important (and most overlooked) steps in any complex project is the end-game play. You don’t have to be a sports aficionado to know what I’m talking about. The end-game is the last step in the project. If a business is developing a new product to bring to market, the initial end-game is often perceived to be: “selling the product successfully”. While that’s important, it shouldn’t be the end-game. That goal is positive and optimistic and should be present in your planning, but there are other considerations that a project manager should allow for:

  • What if the product isn’t successful?
  • What if the product becomes so expensive to produce that it will never sell?
  • What if the market shifts while the product is being developed?

That’s just an example from bringing a product to market. There are other examples. Another common one is the start-up of a new business. For entrepreneurs, the end-game is often thought to be “profitable operation”. That?s a great goal to work towards, but…

  • What about when the entrepreneur wants to retire?
  • What happens if the business isn’t profitable?

End-game plays should not be confused with goals. A successfully selling product or a business’ profitable operation are both ideal goals. But the end-game is very different. The end game should take into account a variety of contingencies, each with their own exit strategy.

For example, if the product isn’t successful, is there a way to make it successful? Is there a way to sell just the concept? Should it be scrapped? What happens to the project team if each of those scenarios happen?

Or, another example: If the entrepreneur wants to retire, should she or he shut down the business? Can they sell it to someone? (Who? How?) Can they pass it along to a family member?

In each example, a contingency is selected and thought through and the organization’s recommended exit strategy is outlined. The result? No matter what happens, there’s a plan.

Rock your plan,

Heather Villa

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