In any company, there are many aspects of the business that undergo a lifecycle. Whether it be a specific resource, process, or set of data, there’s a flow to its usefulness. A lifecycle may unfold naturally, with little oversight into how it progresses. If you’re not paying attention, application of an element can continue past the end of its useful lifecycle. There could be better ways of doing things, but they aren’t even investigated.
That’s why it’s important to have a Lifecycle Management plan. Tracking lifecycles keeps products up-to-date and processes efficient. Then, you’ll know when adjustments should be made, and when a product or process should be updated or retired.
The Steps of Lifecycle Management
- Establish goals. All plans should start with identifying what you hope to accomplish. You may not know exactly what goals are realistic with the resources you have, especially if trying to map out a new milestone. But you can make an educated guess based on experience and be ready to adjust it as needed. Either way, you need to set a benchmark.
- Determine resources needed. What do you need to achieve your goals? Resources include tools, supplies, and vehicles. They also comprise people hours, employee skillsets, and processes to manage those resources.
- Create an action plan. Now that you know what you want to do and what you need to do it, determine how you’re going to do it. Not everything will always run smoothly. Make sure to include backup plans and substitution proposals. You need to be ready to be flexible to complete your goals. It’s a good idea to involve those doing the work at this stage. This will ensure your plan, goals, and resource estimates are realistic. It’s better to know before you actually enact the proposal if it has a good chance of succeeding.
- Set up quality assurance. How will you know if the goals are accomplished? How will you test if they were completed to the best of your team’s abilities? You won’t be sure you’ve succeeded unless you’re ready to analyze the results once the job is done.
- Enact the plan. Now you’re ready to get to work. Start the process, send out the teams and resources, and track how it progresses. Make adjustments as necessary. You may even have to scrap the whole thing at this stage and go back to step one. That’s OK. It’s all part of Lifecycle Management.
- Analyze how it went. This is the time where quality assurance kicks into gear. It may happen simultaneously with the plan being enacted or it may occur after everything is complete. There may be places where too many or too few resources were provided. Tasks may take longer or shorter than you expected. Crews in the field may have suggestions to improve the process. Make sure your response is right-sized. Also confirm as few resources were used as possible without compromising quality.
- Update or retire the plan. Even if everything goes well, there’s almost always room for improvement. This is where you make adjustments for the next time. Even if the new approach works well, it’s unwise to take for granted that it always will. So even with established processes, you’ll want to repeat steps six and seven on a regular basis. This will ensure your plans don’t outlive their usefulness.
After the Plan
It would be hard to follow these steps every single day for every task that you do. That’s not the point of the process. Lifecycle Management ensures you’re always tracking costs, expenses, and efficiency. Sticking to a routine cadence of progress reports and evaluation will do that. Use these steps to make an overall strategy. Enact Lifecycle Management on smaller scales periodically and continuously.
As you complete each cycle through the above steps, make sure to discuss what you’ve learned. The lessons can often be applied not only to the task at hand, but other processes, as well. View the business as a whole to make sure budgets and processes are efficient and effective. There may even be the opportunity to combine many processes into a single one.
As important, always celebrate your wins. Your teams work hard, and they deserve to hear about the company’s accomplishments. It increases morale when crew members can see the effect their work is having on the company’s goals. They need to know how they contribute. It also helps with team buy-in on new changes when everyone gets to witness the effects.
ARCOS’ automated tracking and reporting lends itself nicely to Lifecycle Management plans. Contact us today to learn how we can fit into your strategy. We’ll get you started with our Resource Management solutions.