Pilot? Do I need a Licence?

Set for Pilot. Roger That.

I was recently at a dinner with a client in the hospitality industry and we were discussing the implementation of (new and improved) changes in his business. I said, “Let’s start with a pilot, and then….”.

Oh oh, the room has gone quiet, and I feel like I’ve suddenly grown five heads and a mouth full of fangs! “A pilot? I’m confused, what does that have to do with what we’re talking about?”, he says. Oops, my bad. I think the word ‘pilot‘ has fallen so deep into my basic vocabulary, that I failed to realize that most people associate it with planes, trains and automobiles.

3, 2, 1, Blastoff!

So what is a pilot then? Simply put, a pilot is a way of testing changes or solutions on a small scale (e.g. resources: time, people, locations, funding, etc).

But why do it? isn’t it better to just implement it and save all the resources spent on a pilot? You can, but there are a lot of good reasons for piloting, and here are my top four:

1. Your Solution is Pricey. Think of it this way. Before you buy the $10M home, you might want to walk through it and make sure it works for you. If you don’t, you might be $10M poor and have a house that’s been built out of recycled tires- it is ‘green’ after all.

2. Your Solution isn’t Easy to Change. This is very true in situations where the solution is a new platform or foundation of some type. For example, your entire business of 100+ employees is using a Microsoft Operating System with its own programs. Changing to an Apple Operating System would require a complete overhaul, and if you weren’t happy with, would be expensive and disruptive to reverse.

3. You Want To Make Sure it Works as You Envisioned It. You wouldn’t want to put a new set of brakes on the market without testing them. Imagine what would happen if they didn’t work the way you designed them? Lawsuits galore!

4. You Want To Ensure You Didn’t Miss Something in the Design. If Rome knew what their expansion downfalls were going to be ahead of time (that is, before it fell), they would have fixed them (Click to Tweet). Big visions and major changes can obscure the little, and unthought of, yet critical, workings of your ideas.

Have you ever done a pilot before? Has it worked? Tell us some of your experiences, we’d love to hear them. Email us at info@whiteboardconsulting.ca/staging or tweet us @whiteboardcons. using #betterfastercheaper.

Until next week….