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Well, maybe.  But that isn’t the end I was thinking about. As the month of September draws in and the end of the year looms over the horizon,  the end is in sight but the outcome may not yet be decided.

If we were to think about it from the context of a sporting event, we are entering the 4th quarter (football), the 7th inning stretch (baseball), the last 15 minutes of the game (soccer). Perhaps you have another example that fits. Regardless, either the game plan has gone well, and it is time to fortify the troops … or adjustments are necessary in order to make one final push towards changing the outcome.

And with that comes a question … how are you doing?

As product management leaders, we all entered 2015 with grand hopes for our products or teams.  Goals that may have at the time seemed like not only stretch goals, but perhaps even un-achievable. Setting the bar too low won’t necessarily bring out the best in us, setting it too high can be counter-productive to the team. As Stephen Covey reminds us, you have to begin with the end in mind and push yourself (or your team) to what is possible with the right game plan.

Having just come through summer vacations and getting the kids back to school (ok, who else succumbed to the back-to-school cold this year … ug!), now is the time to be looking at those goals and determining if your game plan is still within reach. What adjustments might be necessary to finish strong?

  • Refocusing on doing the right things vs. doing things right (another post for another day).
  • Getting those last customer implementations in before the holiday code freeze, or
  • Pushing for one last enhancement release before the end of the year, or
  • Bolstering efforts to get partners integrated, or
  • Prepping for the things that will move the needle going into next year

One of the most gratifying aspects of being in this role is when you put a plan in place (albeit aggressive), and the team accepts the challenge and steps up to meeting it. We started with a perspective of how the market was shifting, and what we needed to do to succeed.  We had little to draw upon from a historical precedent or data perspective.  We had a new product and new processes to introduce. But we knew what was possible, put a plan in place, and worked the plan.

Are things perfect? No, they rarely will be. And we have so much further to go to be firing on all cylinders. But going into the home stretch, what the results are showing is following a painfully slow start the momentum is trending such that the outcome is indeed possible.

As a coach, a leader, or even a member of the team … that’s all you want.  To press on towards the goal with the hope of winning the prize!