My father is a sailor in the truest sense of the word – a Navy veteran with saltwater flowing through his veins. Growing up, I thought of sailing as a leisure sport. After leaving the dock under motor power and hoisting the sails once out at sea, it was all about relaxing, especially when there was an expert at the helm. That all changed the first time my father took me regatta racing. Deploying the boat out of the harbor was just the beginning. Throughout the race, the captain managed a well-rehearsed program and the crew worked as a team to execute perfectly.

Since that time, I have had the pleasure of managing many special projects and sales initiatives, each of which needed the same precise management skills and perfect execution that an expert sailing crew has. I’ve learned that every sales operations leader must have strong project leadership skills in order to be successful. This includes the ability to manage a post-deployment process (what to do once the race has begun and you have to sail the boat through a course and to the finish line). A post-deployment process is not the same as good execution; it is the process of reviewing each part of the project once execution has begun. Unfortunately, most of us have a new special project or initiative always lined up (and probably overdue), so we move on, forgetting the importance of managing the post-deployment process.

The following are three critical elements for a successful post-deployment process:

  • Management. Ensure the project or initiative is still aligned to the established goals; designate a leader to manage the post-deployment process; establish an execution project management plan; identify post-deployment stakeholders; develop governance policy and procedures.
  • Measurement. Is the project effectively achieving set targets? Are best practices being documented for use in future projects? Is there a change management plan for making necessary improvements where gaps are diagnosed?
  • Maximization. Projects do not always have a start and end date. Identify potential areas of further development that may drive better results than expected or expand the benefits that were originally outlined. This may result in the start of a new project management and planning process.