The Lemonade Stand Approach: Planning and Executing Effective Technology Projects

As a kid, did you ever set up a lemonade stand in the neighborhood in order to make money? From a very early age, we learn how to execute plans. Think about it:

  • Your plan is to sell lemonade.
  • You are the project manager and are responsible for organizing and setting up the stand.
  • Your executive sponsor is Mom.
  • Your timeline for selling lemonade is 2 to 3pm on Saturday.
  • You’ve evaluated that Saturday is supposed to be hot, so you think you’ll get high sales from thirsty neighbors.
  • You think your budget is $0 and you’ll have pure profit (actually, Mom bought the lemonade, cups, poster board, etc).
  • You’ve solicited a friend to help you as an implementer to write the sign, plus prepare and sell the lemonade.

Voilà! You didn’t even know it, but at ten years old, you were executing a project! Today, most projects are broader and more complicated. The impact is also bigger and longer term. Executing a technology project on-time, within budget, and to the specs is a bit trickier than setting up a lemonade stand, but there are lots of similarities. In this panel presentation, we’ll discuss the elements of a creative and effective technology project execution.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the steps in creating and executing a quality technology plan, along with the roles of all individuals in executing the plan
  • Learn how to manage the details of both big and small technology projects and what's involved in creating the budget
  • Learn how to communicate the value proposition and creatively keep all interested parties involved in executing the plan


Henry Hernandez
WASC Senior College and University Commission
Henry joined WSCUC in 2007 and has served the organization in several roles include Manager of Substantive Change and Director of Communications and Information Systems. His current focus as CIO is on improving the agency's information systems to better serve the Commission's decision making processes, to facilitate the engagement of member institutions, peer evaluators and staff in the accreditation process and improve the accessibility of accreditation information to members of the public. Previous to WSCUC Henry has worked in a variety of roles in higher education including Assistant Director of Student Group Advising and Assistant Director of the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA program at the University of California, Berkeley. Henry also served as the Executive Director of the Florida Office of Collegiate Volunteerism, under the Florida Board of Regents, now part of Florida Campus Compact. Henry holds a Master's in Public Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Change from California State University, East Bay and a Bachelor's in Music from Florida State University.

Sara Chieco
Sara Chieco is the Director of Technology for the Social Impact Practice at Presence. She is a passionate and accomplished Non-Profit Business Analyst, Software Architect, and Technical Lead with extensive services and product experience. Sara has worked with Salesforce for Nonprofits for nearly a decade delivering custom solutions. Prior to this she designed and coded both enterprise and client/server applications as a software engineer. She received a B.A. in Math from Wesleyan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Oregon where she was a Graduate Teaching Fellow.