As a Geonetric project manager, I work with clients to define their projects and outline the necessary steps to reach their objectives. When their goals have been met, we feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment (and release of endorphins) – and attention is turned to the next big project, or projects, without defining what the accomplishments mean for the organization.
At our annual client symposium, held in September in Iowa, I was tasked with leading a workshop. My topic: ROI. I imagined that preaching on ROI for 50 minutes would cause people to zone out. Therefore, with the help of some very creative people, I was able to put together a role playing workshop that really served the audience well. In my workshop I had people wear different hats, so they could see how different roles helped obtain ROI and how different roles also benefited from ROI. For example, the marketing manager had to consider the assignment through the eyes of a foundation executive, or the CIO through the eyes of the Webmaster. It helped everyone see the different expertise of those involved in obtaining ROI– as well as the different obstacles that may hinder a person’s ability to help you obtain ROI.
One of the most important insights that came out of our workshop was that given the importance of the topic and the fact that it’s often overlooked, the goal is not to build ROI into every project you are assigned. Instead make sure it‘s included in the highly visible or important projects that have your name on them.
How do you do that? Our workshop came up with two key ideas:
Build ROI into the requirements. At the start of the project, ask yourself, “When this is done and my VP asks me how it went, what will I say? How will I back it up?”
Include your team at the start. Have your team help you brainstorm ways to achieve ROI. Instead of going to them after the project is defined and underway, include them early on. This will help you gain buy-in from everyone involved in the project.
In the end, you’ll be more confident in what you do, and you will build a library of available options to measure ROI.