First of all: Happy new year, everyone. I love that last Calvin & Hobbes strip and find some way to share it at this time each year. The new year really does offer a fresh start in a magical world, and I hope that with the recovering economy we all have a chance to go exploring in 2014.
Secondly, here’s an exhortation about New Year’s Resolutions: While the intention is good, the success rate on resolutions is only 8%. Reasonable people like engineers will use more effective change management methods. Make plans, not resolutions, if you really want to improve your practice.
Although most people call them “drawings” instead of “plans,” there’s a reason that costly infrastructure is built using a detailed set of plans that describes all of the pieces that need to be brought to a site and assembled in a particular order. Without detailed plans, no amount of wishing will create new infrastructure that meets some pressing need.
Treat your business the same way. Identify your requirements, assess your budget, specify the pieces that need to be assembled, and make a schedule with milestones for delivering the new program. Only with a detailed plan can you reliably effect change in your practice that achieves your goals.
Atlas Geotechnical, in addition to our ever-evolving 5-year strategic plan, will execute two focused strategic plans in 2014. One involves earning repeat business from a very large, well respected infrastructure design firm. Their projects have complex foundation problems at a rate and severity higher than other firms, which makes them an ideal match for Atlas’ approach to foundation engineering.
The other strategic plan is more speculative. We will attempt to build a 3-firm alliance to pursue means-and-methods engineering projects. The team members are all willing, but we’re not yet sure about the market size and the real potential for profitability. The first step in that plan is to confirm that the plan really is a worthwhile use of scarce resources.
Be assured that by the middle of January both of these initiatives will have detailed plans that include resource requirements, milestones, and performance expectations. Only with this level of planning can we reliably convert “I wish I had more cool projects” into “Wow, look at our marvelous backlog of cool projects.” I hope that each of you, by the end of this new year, can say the same.