According to PMI’s 2017 global project management survey, one in four strategic initiatives fail. That’s a disheartening number, no doubt, but there’s cause for hope: Each of the top reported reasons for such a high failure rate — from lack of defined milestones to employee resistance — can be successfully combated. In this post, we’ll cover some ways Salesforce can help.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Reason for Failure #1: A lack of clearly defined objectives/milestones to measure progress.
This is something I see in both my professional and personal lives: Many people know what they want to achieve, but they don’t know how to achieve it. Between “here” and “there,” they see a mysterious gulf, and they’ve got no clue how to cross it.
The trick, of course, is to start by creating a plan. Or, to stick with our current metaphor: You need to start by sketching the bridge that will take you safely across the chasm of the unknown and lead you to your end goal. What’s the first step you’ll take? And the second? Keep going until your blueprint is finished.
In an organizational context, however, this can get tricky. When a given initiative involves a number of stakeholders, how are you supposed to make sure everyone stays on the same page? Well, a tool like TaskRay — a Salesforce add-on you can download from the AppExchange — is designed to help. It provides a simple visual interface that shows every milestone associated with a particular project, allowing everyone involved to see who’s responsible for a given task, when it’s due and where it stands (prioritized, in progress, etc.). Collectively, your team will always know what needs to happen next and be better prepared to hold one another accountable.
Reason for Failure #2: Poor communication.
Of course, knowing who’s responsible for what and when certain tasks are due isn’t the end-all-be-all of successful project management. Complex initiatives often involve extensive collaboration, and that means team members need to be able to communicate effectively. And at a time when more and more people are working remotely, they need to be able to communicate across distances.
Email has long been the standard tool, but as my colleague has written, there are a number reasons you might want to ditch you inbox for Salesforce Chatter — chief among them the fact that Chatter gives each record in Salesforce its own communication feed. If you’ve got a question about a particular task, you can attach it directly to the task and tag all relevant stakeholders. This ensures that, 1). The recipients of your message will actually see it, and 2). They’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. If you think about it, this is much more effective than sending an email, which is likely to get lost in your colleagues’ deluge of messages or, at the very least, cause confusion (Which task are you asking about again?).
Reason for Failure #3: Lack of communication by senior management.
Lack of input from higher-ups is a particularly insidious kind of poor communication. Without direction from leadership, after all, employees must make their best guesses about what’s expected for a particular project, leading to both anxiety and a greater likelihood of failure. If you’re the boss, you need to make sure you’re weighing in along the way, providing your team with the necessary support and feedback to deliver a successful initiative.
To do that, however, you need a 360 view of what your employees are working on, and Salesforce gives you exactly that. Beyond TaskRay and Chatter, custom reports and dashboards can keep you apprised of the work that’s been done and the work that’s scheduled to happen next. If you see a concerning result or an upcoming project stage that you have questions about, you’ll be able to approach the appropriate stakeholder and offer suggestions/help as needed.
Reason for Failure #4: Employee resistance.
This one’s tough. If some of your company’s initiatives are failing due to employee resistance, it could mean a number of different of things. For instance, it might mean your team is pushing back against leadership’s lack of support. If that’s the case, see above. However, it might also mean your employees don’t feel they have the right tools to do their jobs well. In that case, well, it’s one more reason to consider Salesforce.
Thanks to the platform’s open API, which allows it to be connected to any other tool or system, as well as downloadable apps in the AppExchange, Salesforce can help your employees do pretty much anything they need to. Think about it: A single technology that powers the entirety of a given role. That’s massively enabling.
On that note: If you’re looking for more about how Salesforce can better enable your employees, check out our eBook, “How Your Salesforce Strategy Might Be Killing Productivity.” You’ll find more useful tips on ways to use the platform to boost productivity and ensure project success.