Mission Impossible

Mission Impossible

Your mission, should you choose to accept it……

These were the words so popularly spoken in the iconic American television series, Mission: Impossible.  The television show aired on the CBS Network from 1966 to 1990.  More recently, actor and producer Tom Cruise reinvented the show as an action thriller in a series of Hollywood box office hits.  Since its inception, the plot of the show featured a secret agent tasked with exposing a sinister plan conceived by an evil tyrant.  The secret agent’s ultimate goal was to prevent the world from global disaster by the end of the show.  With this seemingly impossible mission, the secret agent and his team would always vanquish the impending threat and save the day!…. at least until the next show aired.

What is very interesting about Mission: Impossible is the phrase itself.  It implies that missions are impossible, but that would be false.

In business, a mission is often created as an abstract goal or object of achievement. In strategy plan development, the mission is one of the five key components that every strategic plan should include.  This is a basic component that should be developed by an organization seeking to create a first-time strategic plan or maintenance of an existing one.

According to corporatefinanceinstitute.com, a company’s mission statement should define “what it exists for and what purpose it serves.  Every company should have a precise statement of purpose that gets people excited about what the company does and motivates them to become part of the organization”.

Here are snippets of a few mission statements from popular brands around the world:

The Walt Disney Company

entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe”


“to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”


“to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink”


“innovate every day to make the world a healthier place”

An organization’s mission should be aspirational including ideal objectives that may be somewhat impossible to achieve, similar to the meaning behind Mission: Impossible.  While an organization’s vision statement is the practical goalpost, the mission statement is attitude-setting for what the organization hopes to accomplish. One of the shortest mission statements comes from Berkshire Hathaway CEO and legendary investor Warren Buffett which simply says, “delight the customer”.  Although succinct, it’s indelibly impactful and sets the way of thinking for the entire organization.

While most organizations understand the criticality of a strategic plan, many struggle with the approach to develop the plan; even the thought. That’s why iSeek Solutions developed its strategic plan development workshop. The workshop is a multi-session effort facilitated by iSeek and attended by your organization’s selected team of stakeholders tasked with planning the strategic direction of your organization. iSeek guides participants through the sessions and facilitates a design thinking-like process to elicit the inputs required to establish the five key components of your strategic plan. Don’t wait to begin, renew or refresh your plan. Contact us at info@iseeksolutionsinc.com to start your strategic plan development journey.

Mastering The Music

In this world of PMOs, PMPs, PgMPs, PfMPs and more, we forget that there are quite a number of organizations that have never adopted a standardized project management methodology, never hired PMPs to run projects, never built a PMO or sought out a portfolio or program manager.  But, without a doubt, these same organizations are executing projects.  The question is, how successful are those projects in meeting their goals and producing the desired deliverables, and how could they improve their success rate?

Use of essential project templates to generate meaningful project documentation is vital to ensuring a well-organized, efficient project.  The documents are collaboration tools for the team and visibility devices for leadership.  According to Leyna O’Quinn in her article,  “Why Organizations Need Project Management”,

  • Documentation stimulates and structures critical thinking in planning the project’s goals, risks, and constraints. The document is the evidence and chronicle of this critical thinking.
  • It provides memory containers for managing a level of detail that cannot be kept in people’s heads. This includes the small details easily overlooked during day-to-day project work, as well as the larger things easily remembered today, but potentially lost or forgotten due to the passage of time or critical personnel changes.
  • It keeps the team and other stakeholders synced up and informed about project changes, issues, and progress.

An organization which iSeek recently assisted in establishing a PMO and adopting a standardized project management methodology utilized iSeek Solutions’ iPMPlaybook©containing important project document templates.  The documents that had the most immediate impact on project management activities were as follows:

  1. A number of the organization’s novice project managers, who had no familiarity with project charters, gave iSeek’s Project Charter template strong reviews.  They found value in this document as a foundational tool used to capture the problem that originated the project, the solution to the problem and the goals, objectives, high level budget, anticipated risks, assumptions, and more.  Indeed, some departments began using the template for internal projects for which they were not required.
  2. Project team members and leadership came to rely upon the DRACI Log which merges several project management logs that are typically maintained and managed separately.  This template has been a game changer for some of these teams because the DRACI Log provides ‘one stop shopping’, a central location in which the project manager and team members can access descriptions and current statuses of decisions, risks, action items, change requests and issues.  Teams have come to depend on a weekly review of its content and ask for it by name. 

The Project Charter and DRACI Log are just two examples of the comprehensive, easy-to-use templates included in the iPMPlaybook©.  Among other essential templates included are a Business Requirements Document (BRD), Stakeholder Register, Communications Log, and Project Closure Form.

Imagine, if you will, that a project manager is much like a symphony conductor.  The conductor’s goal is to keep all the various instruments well blended and in tune, to offer balance in volume and tone, and to achieve a particularly rich sound, working as a team to deliver to the audience a single, cohesive performance.  Envision sheet music as the tool that keeps the orchestra in synch; it is the ‘memory container’ that the conductor uses to manage details and drive the orchestra to performance success.  Without the conductor and the sheet music, the performance would fall shy of the goal.

To help your organization create your sheet music and conduct your projects to success, check out iSeek’s suite of resources that includes a playbook of industry standard tools and essential templates.

Visit our website, subscribe to our blog or follow us on LinkedIn to be one of the first to know when new Resources and Insights are available. Contact us directly at info@iseeksolutionsinc.com.

Peeling Back the Layers

A performance assessment peels back the layers of your business uncovering issues that expose inefficiencies.  Inefficiencies mask themselves in various ways, such as unnecessary spending, unrealized revenue, costly and ineffective processes, disparate business and technology infrastructure, and the list goes on.

To locate areas in your business that impede progress and conceal opportunities, you must first identify and prioritize your internal challenges and goals.

Ask yourself, are your operations and core business functions performing at an exceptional service level?

If your answer is not a resounding ‘Yes!’, your business needs a performance assessment. The assessment will analyze the processes and practices you have in place, their core purpose, level of effectiveness, efficiency, automation, and innovation. Then propose ways to reach the intended outcome that best fits your business needs.

According to Infoentreprenuers.org, reviewing your progress will be particularly useful if you feel:

  • uncertain about how well the business is performing
  • unsure if you’re getting the most out of the business or making the most of market opportunities
  • your business plan may be out of date, e.g. you haven’t updated it since you started trading
  • your business is moving in a direction different to the one you had planned
  • the business may be becoming unwieldy or unresponsive to market demands

It is also useful if you have decided that your company is ready to move on to another level.

In addition to improving operations and core business functions, a performance assessment could possibly save you thousands of dollars annually. The analysis gathered from the assessment will allow you to determine areas where you can potentially reduce costs and maximize revenues. The approach entails looking at your business’s spend categories such as, Telecommunications, Real Estate, Facilities and Maintenance, Office Supplies, IT (Hardware, Software, Services), etc.

A performance assessment highlights your best path for growing your business.

To learn more about the benefits of a Performance Assessment and how iSeek Solutions can help you develop intentional growth strategies for your businesscontact us today; subscribe to our blog and stay tuned for future insights.

Benefits of a Performance Assessment

Is your organization meeting its business goals? How do you know?

In any complex organization, there are innumerable ‘things’ that can be measured and studied. An effective assessment process focuses on those things that have the greatest impact on the way the organization functions.” Kathleen Immordino, Organizational Assessment and Improvement in the Public Sector.


Businesses and organizations, small and large, will need to evaluate their efficiency in order to improve overall performance and pinpoint strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

To address the weaknesses and threats of a business or organization, one must first know the specifics – that’s when a performance assessment is essential. A performance assessment is a summative assessment tool that provides key insights when evaluating and pinpointing organizational needs, current standings, and areas of improvement. With the organization as the primary unit of analysis, performance assessments are important because they reflect how well an organization is doing to reach its vision, mission, and goals.

Some of the benefits of a performance assessment include:

  • Discovering Cost Saving Opportunities
  • Uncovering Revenue Potential
  • Increasing Operational Efficiency
  • Reducing Risk and Risk Exposure
  • Achieving Organizational Alignment
  • Realizing Vision, Mission, and Goals


Performance assessments also provide a basis for developing customized action plans to capitalize on strengths and opportunities, thereby improving overall business performances, functions, and capabilities.

To learn more about the benefits of a Performance Assessment and how iSeek Solutions can light your path to reaching its fullest potential, contact us today; subscribe to our blog and stay tuned for future insights.



Are you familiar with the term, ‘Requirements Analyst’?  It is sometimes used interchangeably with the term, Business Analyst (BA).  Granted, Business Analysts are the go-to project resources for in-depth requirements analysis, communication and tracking, but these same skills benefit far more activities within a project than only those centered on requirements.  According to Adrian Reed, Principal Consultant and Business Analyst at Blackmetric Business Solutions Ltd, the Five Top Trends in Business Analysis for 2018 are as follows:

  • Increased Focus on Organizational Agility
  • Recognition of the breadth of the Business Analyst’s Role
  • Early Engagement Becoming the Norm and Outcomes Matter Most
  • Focus on ‘T-Shaped’ BAs that have deep analytical and organizational understanding as well as a broad appreciation of a range of different disciplines
  • BA Activism in the Community

Let’s focus on trends 3 and 4 above.  Reed recognizes that the BA’s analytical and communications skills are transferrable – they don’t apply merely to one situation or one process group within a project.  In fact, Requirements Analysis is only one aspect of what an experienced Business Analyst can contribute to a project.  Just as BAs successfully work with stakeholders to identify requirements, they can work with stakeholders to identify and document, among other things, the Business Need and the project Goals and Objectives as well.  In addition, the analyst can take away essential knowledge from these endeavors to apply to later activities.

Having performed in a Business Analysis role for a variety of financial and insurance organizations over many (I’m hesitant to say how many!) years, I am excited that key stakeholders, as well as project managers, are recognizing the importance of the early onboarding of Business Analysts, with ‘early’ being defined as a point in the project prior to creating the Business Requirements Document.  As a BA, my first exposure to many projects was at the Kickoff meeting, after the Project Charter and much of the project planning activities had been completed.  I believe, without question, these projects would have benefitted from my analysis and documentation skills during Initiating and early Planning processes and I would have gained greater insight into the project to use in the Requirements documentation process and subsequent activities.

Because some leaders are still working to define the BA role within their organization, I would encourage the definition to reflect the variety of skills BAs can contribute to the entire project lifecycle.  For those organizations that have a clearly defined BA role, I would suggest you review your definition to ensure that you are fully utilizing your BA resources.  Both the Business Analyst and the project team will benefit from the BA’s expanded role.

If you are trying to decide when to bring your full-time or Business Analyst Consultant into a current project, NOW is the time to maximize results by taking advantage of the analytical, communication and leadership skills the BA has to offer.

So, to answer the question:  ARE YOU FULLY UTILIZING YOUR BUSINESS ANALYST? You are if you are enhancing project success if you are extending you BA’s analysis, communication and leadership skills to ‘early’ (pre-Requirements) project activities.

At iSeek, we can provide valuable business analysis support and guide you toward full utilization of your Business Analyst.


To learn more, contact us today; stay tuned to our blog for future insights.

Organizational Alignment? What does that mean?

Too often I’m asked to explain organizational alignment (OA). So, this is the first of a blog series to educate and enlighten readers on “Organizational Alignment” and its many disciplines. At its core, OA simply means ensuring your organization is performing at an optimum level. More specifically, ensuring all aspects of your organization, including business process, technology, workforce, and IT, are properly structured to meet the goals of your organization.

According to entrepreneur André Lavoie, Alignment should be thought of as a playbook for your entire company. This means that the company and all of its resources must work together, as a team, to achieve success. The most challenging part of the process of aligning your organization is knowing what needs the most attention and where to begin.

Alignment starts with communication. Your company’s vision, mission, and strategic goals must clearly be communicated to your employees, regularly and consistently, so they understand what you are trying to accomplish and their contribution. Start by asking yourself these questions:

Can your employees verbalize the vision and mission of your organization? Does your workforce know and understand the strategic growth goals of the company? Does each employee know exactly how his or her role contributes to the sustainability and growth of your business? Are your business processes consistent with your strategic goals?

If you answered no to any of the questions above, then your organization is not aligned for optimal success. Alignment is a necessary business strategy. The disciplines of Organizational Alignment are proven to greatly benefit organizations and significantly increase their value proposition.

To learn more about the benefits of Organizational Alignment and how iSeek Solutions can light your path to success, contact us today; subscribe to our blog and stay tuned for future insights.

Why is Project Failure Acceptable?

I often say that project management is in my DNA.  For me, it’s a lifeskill; not just a profession. That bit of insight might help you understand my passion in the pursuit of excellence.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.” Project management success is measured by the ability to deliver expected results while managing budget (money set aside for the endeavor), time (estimated time to complete the project) and scope (what must be done to produce the expected results with quality). While the project management process is considered a professional methodology, most of us operate under these same constraints in our personal endeavors as well. Hence, project management as a lifeskill.

The concept is simple and doable. Project management principles and disciplines are well-established and applicable to all types of endeavors, regardless of size and complexity. Success is obtainable. So why is project failure acceptable?

While pondering that question, here are a few statistics to consider:

  •  The United States economy loses $50-$150 billion per year due to failed IT projects. (Source: Gallup Business Review)
  • Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year. (Source: Standish Group)
  • 75% of business and IT executives believe their projects are “doomed from the start.” (Source: Geneca))
  • 80% of project management executives don’t know how their projects align with their company’s business strategy. (Source: Changepoint)

A few of the most common project challenges:

  • Poor Strategic Planning
  • No Business / Technology Alignment
  • Ineffective project sponsorship
  • Insufficient requirements gathering and scope definition
  • No formal Portfolio, Program and Project Management Methodology
  • Lack of “Industry Best Practice” tools and processes
  • Under-staffed and/or under-skilled resource pool
  • Inflexible technologies
    • Poor scalability
    • Lack of interoperability

Some of the mysteries behind Business and Technology MIS-alignment:

  • Insufficient visioning and planning
  • No “B/I” Governance
  • Poor communication between business and IT executives
  • Lack of flexibility and collaboration
  • No vendor management/oversight

So, why is project failure acceptable?  It is NOT!!!

At iSeek Solutions, we understand the complexities of today’s business and IT challenges. Our experts provide tools and facilitate processes you need to choose the best methodologies to meet your business and IT goals. We partner with you to:

  • Visualize, articulate and plan successfully
  • Manage multiple demands during times of change
  • Facilitate collaboration
  • Optimize resources

Project failure is not acceptable! Let iSeek Solutions help you ensure project success in 2017 and beyond.  Contact us today. Subscribe to our blog and stay tuned for future insights.