Death by 1,000 Sound Bites

I just can’t leave well enough alone, but I have seen a large number of projects derailed by a cascade of sound bites. This post, a follow-on to the post on facts versus sound bites stresses the importance of issue management, (hit list, hot list, top 10) to insure that focus is continually placed where it belongs throughout a project – the agreed to list of what’s important, and by exclusion, what’s less important. A great way to make progress is to effectively “kill” issues as they arise throughout the life of a project, and issues management is a great way to document issues and their resolution. One way to avoid the death by 1,000 sound bites is to document them as well, research them, prioritize them and document eventual resolution so that issues and sound bites travel together to the “completed list”. By acknowledging that everything is (or might be) an issue, all issues can be resolved. The only downside is the potential waste of effort in resolving and documenting resolution of baseless sound bites, but this may be a small price to pay to keep a project moving forward and to make very visible what areas generate more than their share of investigative work.

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