Random Acts of IT Project Management

Project Management for Information Technology

Seth Godin and One Thing

Posted by iammarchhare on 8 July 2009

Seth Godin had a couple of good posts last month that are worth a read.  Both are about concentrating on one or two things that make a difference.   First, you must identify the key thing you should be focused on.  Second, you must ensure you aren’t spreading yourself too thin.  The second is particularly relevant for job seekers in this economy, but there is a larger principle as well.

One post was “Ruby slippers”.  Do you know what the one thing even is that you should be concentrating on?

If you could make one thing come true that would change everything for your project, do you know what the one thing would be?

There are a lot of companies that don’t know what they want, so they inevitably fail.  Been there, done that, and it ain’t no fun!

The other post is a little longer and is about “How big is your farm?”  This one particularly hit home because of all of the “experts” that want you to get out and network here, network there, be on this social site, be on that social site and run yourself ragged for some pretty iffy payback.  Double that if you are looking for full time employment and not consulting gigs.

The number of media channels available to you keeps growing. The number of places you can spend time and money is almost endless. Yet your budget isn’t. Your time certainly isn’t.

Some people would have you spend a little time on each social network, run ads in ten or fifteen media, focus on one hundred major markets and spend time on PR and publicity in every publication willing to listen to you.

You know, it never ceases to amaze me how people react when I give them simple answers to what they perceive to be complex questions.  They are making it hard.  What do you do when customer Z wants something, but you are working on customer A’s project?  That’s easy!  Which one has the priority?  Pick one and do your best on that endeavor.  You cannot do your best work by juggling 26 different projects.  You cannot even do acceptable work by juggling 26 different projects.

I used to have a product manager that had the philosophy that you should not be afraid to fire a customer.  If the customer required too many resources, made unreasonable demands or just wasn’t living up the ROI, it’s probably time to fire that customer.  Spend your time and your money on the customers that matter.  Make sure catering to that customer brings you something you need.

Usually, it’s about this time that people get flustered and start on, “Well, how do you choose which customers don’t get what they want?”  When I respond with, “Well, what is your business strategy?”, about 90% of the time it turns out they don’t really have one.  They don’t know the ROI because they don’t know what R they want for their I.  Is it prestige?  Cash?  Other goods and services?  What return do you really need from this customer to keep from firing them?

Each of us has 24 hours in a day.  The rich don’t get more, and the poor don’t get less.  How you spend that time says a lot about your priorities.  What are your priorities?  Do you know?  Are you following through on them?


One Response to “Seth Godin and One Thing”

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