This much and no more

This is the third installment on practical advice, and probably the most important segment of them all. Why? Because the human species has a penchant for letting projects get out of hand, even going back thousands of years.

For example, archeologists recently discovered that the Great Pyramid was only supposed to be a retaining wall for the Pharaoh Khufu’s vegetable garden, but then a landscaping committee got involved, and you know what happened from there. Even Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” was the result of scope creep after his editor said that a novel entitled “A Misunderstanding With My Neighbor About His Dog’s Incessant Whining” wouldn’t make it onto the shelves of most book stores.

But I suspect you’re less interested in fame or infamy then you are in good results. So let’s start by emphasizing the need for a good target market hierarchy. The purpose of the target market hierarchy is to help you prioritize which job categories are most important to your attraction and retention efforts. By identifying who and where, you can control the amount of field research conducted, resulting in only the data you really need.

It’s also important to understand where you’re starting from. Organizations with no brand awareness have little use for perception research conducted outside of the company. Let me sum up what the feedback will be: no one has heard of you so nothing that was said is worth listening to.

One other consideration is the use of existing research. Exit interviews, for example, can provide interesting insight to the employment experience, and providing that the interview data can be segmented by the performance of the exiting employee, can mitigate the need for some internal research.

But perhaps what is most important is agreement among stakeholders as to what is an appropriate scope of work. It is not unusual to see revisionism in action when the project is thought to be complete. This is usually followed by one of two things: an expanded scope of work that blows your original budget, or the discrediting of your entire endeavor. And that’s something you definitely don’t want, because the next thing you know, someone’s forming a landscaping committee.


Random rant
Will someone please launch a complaint with the FCC regarding “Young Folks” by Peter, Bjorn, and John? The tune features incessantly cheerful whistling that should be classified as an acoustic version of a Class D substance. It seems fine at first, but the brain damage is severe and irreversible.

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Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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