Defining the vision for a project is to identify the challenge or opportunity that a project is intended to address. Defining the vision is an important pillar of the DIRECT project leadership model. This can be done using root cause analysis, brainstorming, and affinity diagrams. These project management tools and activities will help to effectively document the project scope.
- One of my favorite project leadership quotes comes from baseball legend Yogi Berra. Yogi used to say, "If you don't know where you're going, "you might wind up someplace else." In this video, we are going to look at the first pillar of the Direct project leadership framework, defining the vision for the project. Defining the vision means you need to be clear about the goal. What is the problem or opportunity that your project is supposed to address? I'll tell you one of the things that I find most frustrating.
And you may have experienced this too. You're in the middle of a task, working really hard, and getting a sense of satisfaction from your work. And then someone walks in and tells you to stop working on it because we don't need to do it anymore. That's a terrible feeling, it's deflating, because you feel like you've wasted your energy. It's a shame, but the truth is that companies stop projects all the time. When they decide that the benefits don't justify the costs. Why? Well, sometimes the circumstances change.
And stopping the project is really a logical business decision. But sometimes people agree to do things, like start a project, even when no one is really clear that it's the right thing to do. And as crazy as that sounds, this bizarre behavior, where everyone agrees to do something that none of them really support, even has a name. It's called the Abilene Paradox. It isn't until everyone starts working that people look around, realize that no one really wanted the project in the first place, and then decide to cancel it.
Making sure that you have clearly and accurately defined the vision, the purpose of a project, is one of the best ways to avoid the Abilene Paradox. Defining the vision for a project is fundamentally about understanding the business problem that you are trying to solve. The most successful project leaders I have worked with were the ones who could see past the symptoms of the problem and determine the deeper root causes.
And then they could explain their vision in terms that had clear meaning for the business. One way to think about defining the vision for a project is to ask yourself, when we are done, how will we know that we were successful? A clearly defined vision will ensure that you and your team have good answers to the difficult why questions. Why are we spending this money? Why is this more important than the other projects we have going on? Why do you need this person on your team? Or the ultimate question, why shouldn't we cancel this project? From the start of the project until the end, the project leader needs to align the whole team around a common goal.
That's why defining the vision is the first pillar of the direct project leadership framework. When your vision is clear, agreed upon by everyone involved, and written down, it will help you keep your project on track, and help you ensure that your team will be successful.
- Name who is responsible for approving the resources for the project.
- Recall what the spine of a fishbone diagram represents.
- List characteristics of the environment.
- Identify the tools used for mapping processes.
- Recognize what needs to be captured on the action item list.
- Recall what project metrics should be related to.