This month, I’m providing a career management tip-a-day (along with other posts) to help you trigger your own career management activities.
Today’s tip: Prototype your work.
This is a true story. While working at one of my former companies, I was tasked to help create a customer presentation for an executive. We were given a week to do it, a reasonable amount of time. The person running the presentation group spent a lot of time and effort during the week to make sure the presentation was solid, factual, and meeting the requirements that the executive provided.
On the Thursday before the Friday presentation, all of us went into a conference room with the executive and laid out the presentation.
Result: the executive had us change everything. Part of it was not understanding some of the requirements, but the majority of the problem was the executive changed his mind about what was needed for the information.
Of course, that wasn't the real result when it came to us Cubicle Warriors (in training). No, the real result is that we got to stay at work late and completely redo the presentation so that we could show it again to the executive early in the morning before the customer presentation.
The lesson: Quickly do a prototype of your deliverable and provide it to your internal/external customer. The purpose is to make sure you don't have misunderstandings about what is expected -- and make sure you cover what is changing in your customers head at the same time.
Save a few late nights and weekends as well.