I was running a project management course and we got round to discussing project planning. The discussion moved in the direction of piloting a roll out of a project. One person asked for an example and I gave them from where I live.
The London Borough of Barnet has been changing its refuse collection service. Instead of two small bins for recycled materials such as paper and cardboard with glass and tins going in separate bins we now have 1 large bin for everything and an additional one for food waste.
On my early morning walks I saw the new bins proudly displayed waiting for the start of the new collection regime. But, we had not received our new bins! We received them 4 days before the go live date. Others…well, read what happened….
I suggested on the course that the contractor should have carried out their own trials so that they knew the bid would work and was economical. This is for something that has been planned for months but it got off to a terrible start.
So how about you trialling a major role out before you do a full launch? If you doubt what I mean take a look at what the Crossrail project are doing. The article points to a large spend effectively piloting the build of a railway station. But, it also points to savings in site traffic volumes, general reduction to the local community as well as pollution and waste levels.
So beware; no trial could mean that your plans, approaches do not work as effectively as you first thought. Trialling them will allow you to really test the plans, risks and ensure that your governance processes are working.
Of course, you could be like the contractor mentioned in the newspaper article. While financial penalties will possibly be called on it does nothing to provide people with the service they expect!