Hope is not a plan

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with many hospitals that have a variety of project methodologies. I learn something new each time. Some methodologies were good, some were bad and some were, well, interesting. But at the end of the day, each organization was working towards a common goal – success.

At the highest level, every project, big or small, has the same three elements – a project team, a budget and a timeline. And, typically, when the project kicks off, everyone is motivated, full of ideas and “in it to win it.”

As time moves along, however, the excitement fades.

The road to success …

A project stems from an idea for an end result. One that’s usually an improvement over the status quo, which is the exciting part. The not-so-exciting part is the day-to-day activities required to get us to that end result.

The road to success can be, well, tedious.

Recently while working with customers, I’ve sat in on project team meetings in which each member provides a status report of their tasks and speaks to their plan moving forward to ensure success. The key point here is their plan moving forward.

Now, I cannot tell you how much this next part bothers me: Often, those plans to move forward begin with “I hope to …”

Here’s an example:

I hope to have 2 FTE positions for end-user training approved by next quarter.

We need resources on-boarded in time for go-live.

Me being me, I’m sitting in that meeting thinking to myself: Hope is not a plan. Hope is a feeling, a wish, a desire.

A plan is tangible. A plan is a list of action items that will result in achieving a goal. Hearing this so-called “I-hope-to plan,” I immediately have so many questions:

  • What is the plan to get the positions approved?
  • Who have you presented this to?
  • When did you present it?
  • What did you present?
  • When is the decision being made and by whom?

If I were the Executive Sponsor of the project, I would ask and expect answers to these questions. I need facts. I need actions. I need to be in the know, so I am confident this project will be a success, and if I feel like it is not trending that way, I will know exactly where I need to insert myself to ensure success.

… is ongoing

Hope as a plan often leads to an unsuccessful project. Moreover, it finds the team unaware of where the breakdown occurred. After all, the team did everything right: They met weekly, gave status reports, met their budget, the go-live went live …

But, the project was not a success.

Here’s why: Our projects don’t end at go-live. We measure success by how well we affect change – which we measure by how well our end-users embrace that change. End users should be prepared well in advance, provided with tools and resources to help them understand what is going on and why.

We should not “hope” the user experience goes well. We should be confident it is going to go well. Making sure we’re planning our action items – rather than hoping for them – during the project phase, helps get us there.

Now, don’t get me wrong, hope is important and certainly has its place. But, I promise its place is not in your project plan.

Amanda Blase serves as senior International Healthcare Solutions consultant for Hyland, creator of OnBase. Amanda’s primary responsibilities include leveraging her Health Information Management (HIM) experience across domestic and international healthcare organizations. Further understanding global healthcare trends and business needs to assess how OnBase Healthcare customers can evolve their investment in the OnBase software solution.

Amanda has more than 4 years of experience at Hyland Software and 17 years in the healthcare industry. Earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from Lindenwood University, Amanda’s certifications include green belt in Six Sigma and Lean Methodologies, Document Imaging Architect (CDIA+) and Enterprise Content Management Practitioner (ECMp).

Prior to joining Hyland Software in 2011, Amanda spent 13 years at SSM Healthcare in St. Louis, Missouri where utilizing her insights into process improvement as the means to improve departmental efficiencies expanded her career from an HIM Clerk to HIM Team Lead. As HIM Leader she was responsible for applying these process improvements in 4 separate hospitals as part of the Epic electronic medical record implementation integrated with the OnBase software.

Amanda’s expertise in leveraging document management integrated with Epic electronic medical records solution was critical in the successful completion of more than 100 engagements. She is an advocate of utilizing process improvement along with technology solutions to drive efficiency in all aspects of health information management and clinical content administration. She has taken this passion to a global audience of OnBase customers through direct consulting engagements, professional associations events and focused conference presentations and blogs.

Amanda is now expanding her passion to include assisting healthcare enterprises with the achievement of HIMSS Stage 7 certification. By becoming certified herself as a mock evaluation consultant she can leverage her knowledge to drive customers to achievement of their Stage 7 certification.
Amanda Blase
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Amanda Blase

Amanda Blase serves as senior International Healthcare Solutions consultant for Hyland, creator of OnBase. Amanda’s primary responsibilities include leveraging her Health Information Management (HIM) experience across domestic and international healthcare... read more about: Amanda Blase