Many parallels can be drawn between drag racing and new product or service development. Getting your development team to think of themselves as a drag racing crew is a creative way to instill enthusiasm and urgency by increasing awareness of each member’s contribution to the big picture, or “the run.”
We will begin with analogies derived from a car’s run, including the signals provided by the Christmas Tree (or simply the tree). For this discussion, we will use a Sportsman, or Full Tree. If you’d like more detailed descriptions of the tree (including timing), drag racing terminology, or general information, several sources can be found online.*
We will also explore the similarities between support functions that both types of teams rely on, processes that both follow, and other characteristics that they share.
The list that follows is an attempt to describe, as briefly as possible, the most fundamental dangers project teams face. Responsibility for the team’s performance lies, ultimately, with the project manager; therefore the PM must be righteous and insist on the same from team members.
The term sustainability is typically associated with issues such as natural resource depletion, recycling, or other matters of environmental stewardship. To fulfill its social responsibility, however, a company must first endure its own survival. In Getting Green Done, Auden Schendler defines sustainability as “being in business forever.” Achieving this requires long-term planning; the most fundamental plan required defines how the company will attract and develop the talented people necessary to operate the business profitably and responsibly in future generations.
Customer Experience Drives Business Performance
Customer service issues in the hospitality industry often receive a great deal of attention, while other service industries typically receive little. The quality of customer service is no less important, however, to the multitude of other service occupations. Hotels, restaurants, and airlines are susceptible to high-profile customer service failures, but the average person has many more interactions with other businesses that are unlikely to garner media attention. Small, local businesses, for example, rarely enter the national spotlight; however, the customer experience they provide is equally critical to their survival as is it to their famous-name counterparts.
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