TABridge Webinar: Managing the Unexpected


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Presented August 27, 2013 as part of the #TABridge webinar series. Learn more at

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  • Are campaigners, techies and managers in sync?
  • … that’s why the Expectations discussions are so important
  • It helps to “locate” the change in circumstances. Your own changes may be unavoidable, but you can save time and tension by knowing what’s “within your control.”
  • e.g., Arrests being made for Facebook likes, Donor suddenty demands social media, windfall of money creates radio strategy, social media intern quits
  • TABridge Webinar: Managing the Unexpected

    1. 1. MANAGING THE UNEXPECTED Be Ready for Change in Digital Strategy TABridge Webinar | August 27, 2013 Jed Miller, T/AI @jedmiller | #TABridge
    2. 2. Agenda I. What Do We Mean by Digital Strategy? II. Moving from Strategy to Activities III. Expectable Challenges IV. Surprises and Changes V. Managing the Unexpected VI. Stories from the Field VII. Discussion VIII. Key Lessons
    3. 3. Digital Strategy Key Elements: • Big-picture goal (“How will the world look different?”) • What is the specific change you seek with this strategy? • Who is your audience? • Match the tools to your audience. • Check your capacity: Is your organization ready? • Create a roadmap. • Create a technology vision.
    4. 4. Moving from Strategy to Activities Key Elements: • Technology plan: your tech vision, in actionable steps • Shared expecations: Are campaigners, techies and managers in sync?
    5. 5. “code”
    6. 6. Moving from Strategy to Activities Key Elements: • Technology plan: your tech vision, in actionable steps • Shared expecations: Are campaigners, techies and managers in sync? • User-driven design for tools and user experience • Timeline based on realism and shared expectations? • Feedback: User tests, previews for team, before launch. • Enthusiasm: You will set the tone.
    7. 7. Expectable Challenges As with any challenge, the best remedy is prevention.
    8. 8. Expectable Challenges Bureaucratic obstacles
    9. 9. Expectable Challenges Technology glitches
    10. 10. Expectable Challenges Scope “creep”
    11. 11. Expectable Challenges “Human” delays
    12. 12. Expectable Challenges • Bureaucratic obstacles • Technology glitches • Scope creep • Human delays
    13. 13. The Unexpected
    14. 14. The Unexpected Where did the surprise come from? Within the project (e.g., technology or team) Within the organization (e.g., budget or management priorities) The outside world (e.g., political changes or current events)
    15. 15. The Unexpected Understand what the change was. • • • • Slow Progress Reduced (or Increased) Resources New (or Shifting, or Drifting) Mandate Change in Outside Context
    16. 16. Managing the Unexpected Understand what you cannot change.
    17. 17. Managing the Unexpected Understanding the change doesn’t change anything, but it lets you know who to talk to. • Managers • Vendors • Team • Advisors • Yourself
    18. 18. Managing the Unexpected Communicate before, during and after you adjust the plan. • Be realistic: If something has changed, don’t “kid yourself” that it hasn’t. • Be honest: Most problems don’t begin as mistakes, and the ones that do get fixed sooner with clarity. • Be flexible. • Look forward. • Lead.
    19. 19. Managing the Unexpected Understand your role:
    20. 20. Managing the Unexpected Understand your role: teacher
    21. 21. Stories from the Field Global Witness Social media doesn’t just need consumers, it needs creators. | @Global Witness
    22. 22. Stories from the Field Sarah Schacht When expectations differ, the first step is getting on the same page. | @SarahSchacht
    23. 23. Discussion Please ask a question. Share an anecdote. • When was the last time you faced the unexpected in a tech project? • Have you ever realized you’d chosen the wrong tool? • What do you do when people aren’t “on the same page?” • When was the last time you realized your assumptions needed to change?
    24. 24. Lessons Strategy is more than a message, a tool and a plan. It’s a series of assumptions, relationships and conversations. Expect change. Change is the norm. If your assumptions, relationships and conversations are flexible, it is much easier to manage the unexpected.
    25. 25. Lessons Changes are resolved in the realm of conversation. Conversation isn't the follow up to the adjustment. It's the primary tool for shifting your strategy effectively.
    26. 26. Lessons Failure is feedback. So listen carefully and adjust accordingly.
    27. 27. Thank you! @TAInitiative @jedmiller #TABridge
    28. 28. Image credits p. 8 Philip Roeland/Flickr p. 10 Airplane! (1980, Paramount) p. 11 Alain Delorme, Totems, 2010 p. 12 willytronics/Flickr p. 17 Virtusincertus/Flickr p. 20 Al Jazeera English/Flickr, Mauricio Lima/NYT, World Bank, J. Miller p. 21 See More Do More/Flickr p. 23 Washington State DOT p. 26 The Big Durian/Flickr p. 9, 14 attribution unknown