Planning: Recipe for Success

Stop me if this hasn’t happened to you –

You need to pick up a few things for dinner, so you pop into the grocery store on the way home. You’re hungry, you’re tired, and you’re in a hurry to get through the store. By the time you’re home, you realize at least one – if not both – of the following:

  1. You picked up things that you hadn’t intended to buy.
  2. You didn’t pick up everything you need.

Oh, that’s happened to you, too? No surprise! Ice cream is far more tempting than so many other ingredients…

In this scenario, you’re not in too much trouble. You can change your dinner plans, or even head back out to the store, if necessary. Unless you’re counting calories, the biggest potential for damage is the waste of your time and money.

Consider what happens when you do the same thing with a survey.

You know you need to send out a survey, but something happens – or maybe a few things happen – and your project doesn’t get all the time and attention it needs. But hey, it’s time to launch! With an eye on the clock, you’re launching and breathing a sigh of relief.

By the time your results come back, you realize at least one – if not both – of the following:

  1. You asked questions that were irrelevant or set up in a manner that renders results useless.
  2. You neglected to ask key questions that would allow you to gather valuable feedback, informing next steps and supporting positive change.

Hopefully, this hasn’t happened to you. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to end up with this result.

A few things to think about when planning your project:

  • Build a solid project plan to ensure that there’s enough time for everything to get done.
  • Make sure your goals are clearly understood by everyone involved, supporting consistency from the beginning to the end.
  • Involve the right people in your project – designing goals, developing content, reviewing structure, and ensuring quality are all key elements of success in reporting, long before reporting actually begins.

A successful project brings together quality ingredients, quality cooks, and a quality recipe to ensure quality – and delicious! – results. Before you get cooking, make sure you’ve got everything in place.