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The problem with complex project tracking

Systems that “capture everything” sound great, because it’s assumed if you can document everything, you can predict everything…but that’s almost never the case! The more precise you try and be with your project templates, the more time you’ll waste. 

Most job types have high level steps to them – basic things that are common, but the specifics of each job – what needs to be done, how long it will take, tools needed, etc, can vary wildly.

We advocate only worrying about the high level. Don’t try and pre-plan for every detail that could happen on a job, and make a project template to match. Its never going to get everything right, and you’ll spend all your time trying to update it or correct it vs actually getting the job done!

Here’s an everyday example: You could catalogue all the groceries you have in the house, every ingredient you’ll use when cooking, all the spices, flour, etc precisely, and then plan every meal precisely so that when it’s time to grocery shop, you have a list of exactly what you need…But how accurate were you? Was there a real benefit to spending all the time cataloging and tracking? What if you want to try something new that you don’t have a documented process for? What if you made a mistake somewhere? You sure feel like you’re in control, but you’re spending a lot of time and energy trying to serve the process instead of enjoying making a nice meal.

Here’s some other thoughts about what happens when you try and set up a ‘precise’ system:

  • Time spent making job templates for everyone to follow
    • Go to everyone. Ask how they do their job so you can document. Get really bad estimations because every project is different. Spend a bunch of time building out these workflow charts with timelines for each step. Watch it fall apart the first time you use it. 
  • Manpower to manage systems vs doing the work
    • Instead of having people just focused on your business’s work, you have people trying to manage the system. Isn’t that why you’re using an app, to automate and simplify? 
  • No room for serendipity
    • Don’t be a slave to process. Process = guidelines. It keeps you on track, but sometimes the project takes you in a different (better) direction.

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