Project Management

Flaws in the Crawl Walk Run Methodology

Braden Kelley is an innovation and change specialist, the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, an InnovationExcellence.com co-Founder, and is the creator of the Change Planning Toolkit™ and a book on the best practices and next practices of organizational change (January 2016 release).

Many of you may have heard of the Crawl Walk Run project methodology. For those of you that haven’t, the idea is that if a project team is trying to achieve something big, that sometimes you have to evolve your approach in stages rather than trying to make all the changes all at once.

Many people are quite fond of this approach and can be heard repeating the mantra “Let’s crawl before we walk, let’s walk before we run.” Others have evolved Crawl Walk Run into Crawl Walk Run Fly. One of those groups is Edelman (a public relations firm), which in the following image proposes the following Crawl Walk Run Fly approach to social media:

Ultimately, the Crawl Walk Run Fly project approach looks back to the following quote for its inspiration and structure:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

But the flaw in the Crawl Walk Run project approach was exposed in a conversation I had recently with Stewart Pearson, a former client and friend, who happens to be the founder of Consilient Group, an emerging consulting group focused on helping clients undertake data-driven, insight-driven digital transformations to empower organizations to ignite sustainable growth and innovation.


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