Ever feel like you are always behind on your projects and that your customer or stakeholders are getting frustrated, always waiting on you? Try dependency surfing!
Dependency surfing works like this: If the customer constantly feels like they are waiting on you, they perceive you as the cause of project delays, holding things up even if you are on schedule and delivering as committed. But if you keep your customer or stakeholders busy with work that moves the project ahead, then they feel like you are on top of things and driving value, and they will have a vested interest in the project because of their involvement. It also helps keep them out of trouble 😉
I call it dependency surfing because it often feels in a project like there is a relentless, rolling wave of things that need to be done – decisions, actions, issues to be managed. And if you are just a little bit behind, it can feel like that giant wave of things that needs to get done is continually crashing down on your head, leaving you gasping for air.
But, if you can get just that little bit ahead of that wave of activities and ride the crest – you can steer it, moving it forward instead of being mashed down into the sea bottom. Do this by staying on top of action items, finding ways to delegate and assign work – especially those that seem to be ‘on your back,’ so you can spend your time managing the delivery of activities rather than performing them. Strive to have more action items out there that people, especially your stakeholders, owe you than you owe in return.
If you try this, you will find that your customers and stakeholders actually love this. They feel the push to move things ahead, and tend to be satisfied that you are driving the project ahead. They are also pleased to be able to contribute to the project and their own success.