If only I had 5 Paragraph Business Plan

Posted by Brian Tomlinson on

Several years ago, while working as a project manager in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was challenged to manage the WIFI installation for the Sand's Convention center, which also entailed overhauling the existing WIFI in the same complex in "The Venetian Casino" and "Pallazo Casino" and hotels. There had previously been five project managers that tried to strategize and execute the same project. However, they either had been handed their hats or walked away unable to develop conceivable plan. I was asked by the company I was working with, Signal Share, in Raleigh, NC at the time to take a look and report my observations. I performed a site survey with my supervisor who was busy with many other projects himself at the time.

Upon my point of contact with the main IT department heads which there were three. I realized what the first problem was there had not been a successful execution of a plan. No one could answer a simple question when I asked "who is accountable?". So after meeting the various different department heads I asked, "who is in charge?". The only answer I received was why? I said in order to develop a plan I need to know who the buck stops with to understand how I need to employ myself as manager of the project and get organized. I finally was introduced to the president of the organization. I covered the gaps in communication and told him, to have a successful implementation I needed full autonomy over the project to maintain accountability because so far no one seemed to be accountable for this project that was 12 months behind schedule.

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I had already managed many commercial projects and implemented roll-outs of new technologies. As they emerged after testing I installed them in schools and businesses. This was definitely the largest project I had encountered of any kind. However, to me, it's all the same. I just scale a proven methodology up or down based on the scope of work and number of people necessary to accomplish the mission. Having had numerous mentors that were soldiers in the US Army and Marines. I learned much from them on the subject of team building and communications. How the chain of command works and operates so efficiently.

I look back and think to myself how awesome it would have been to have the 5 Paragraph Business Plan to accomplish that project. It was a struggle all of the time. Complacency in the ranks in the different departments, lack of accountability for mishaps or outright failures from top to bottom.

In the years past getting to know Michael J. Penney the creator of this amazing workbook. I discovered the gem that the military operates on. I thought surely this is something everyone in the business community should know about. I learned how the chain of command works and why. I learned why it takes training and discipline to achieve common goals, or any mission with military efficiency and how valuable it is to have a working methodology IN HAND that never changes.   

I wish I had the 5 Paragraph Plan in hand with the Las Vegas project. It would have made my life so much easier. I needed a template for conveying my intent down on paper. My subordinates needed a method to brief me and debrief with me. I needed after action reporting to help me revise my actions moving forward. I needed 5 Paragraph Business Plan.


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