Sidetracked by sizzle

What does sidetracked by sizzle mean?

The phrase "Sidetracked by Sizzle" encapsulates those moments when the allure of tech novelties momentarily veers us off the path of practicality. It's about being lured by a glossy facade, often at the expense of substance. I often add "Not Sidetracked by Sizzle" in my online profiles, as a lighthearted testament to my commitment to staying the course, valuing the essence over the enticement. Much like resisting the urge to buy every new gadget that hits the market (looking at you, smart toaster with a built-in weather forecast), it's about keeping a keen eye on what truly matters. By maintaining a focus on the tangible benefits to the business, it becomes possible to deliver more effective and successful solutions.

How Can I Recognize When I've Been Sidetracked by Sizzle?
  • When I find myself more focused on the perceived value of a feature, rather than its actual impact on the business, it's a red flag. For instance, being enamored by a feature's cutting-edge technology, without a clear understanding of how it solves a business problem.
  • When I realize that a significant amount of time and resources have been invested into a feature, yet its benefits to the business remain unclear.
  • When I am aiming to impress stakeholders with flashy features, rather than addressing their real needs, it’s time to pause. This might look like showcasing a high-tech dashboard while core functionality issues remain unresolved.
  • When I discover that my attention is gravitating toward features not directly aligned with the business goals or objectives.
  • When I overlook the potential risks or downsides of a feature, and stray from a risk management approach in decision-making.

When any of these scenarios occur, it's a cue to step back, reevaluate the priorities, and refocus on solutions that will truly benefit the business and contribute to its success.

How do I avoid being Sidetracked by Sizzle?

There are a few strategies to keep in mind when evaluating a solution to avoid being sidetracked by sizzle that does not deliver:

Keep the business goals in mind:
It's important to keep the big picture in mind and remember the ultimate goals of the business. This can help you stay focused on what's most important and avoid getting distracted by flashy features or technologies that may not contribute to the business's success.
Gather subject matter knowledge:
By gaining a deep understanding of the business and the specific needs and challenges it faces, you can better evaluate whether a particular solution or technology will truly be beneficial.
Seek out customer feedback:
Asking customers or clients for their input can help you identify what they value most in a solution and what they consider to be less important or unnecessary. This can help you avoid spending time and resources on features that may not be as valuable to the business.
Use a risk management approach:
By identifying and evaluating potential risks, you can prioritize the most important features and technologies and avoid spending too much time and resources on less important or unnecessary ones.

By following these strategies, I can stay focused on delivering solutions that truly benefit the business and avoid being sidetracked by sizzle that may not deliver the desired results.

Focused On Business Success

A tech leader's primary objective should be to deliver business success. However, it is very common to get sidetracked in the process and lose focus on that goal. Sidetracked leaders can be pulled toward flashy features that do not lead to any quantifiable business value.

By focusing on measurable business value, leaders can ensure that each feature is delivering results that are aligned with the client's overarching objectives. This will help them stay focused on business success and minimize the amount of attention given to sizzle that does not deliver value. It will also help create a project manager/client relationship built on trust and transparency as well as ensure that time and resources are being used efficiently.

Therefore, project managers need to have a clear set of goals, understand the measurable business value of any features they develop, and prioritize features based on this value. This will help them keep their focus on delivery business success and avoid getting sidetracked by flashy features and sizzle.