What is the purpose of embarking on a project? The goal of every project is to change something! If your result from finishing a project isn’t that something in the world has changed, then you haven’t been successful. If nothing has changed, then why spend effort and resources on the project?
Done On Time – Define Where You Are Going
When you start your project, make sure that you know where you are going. Every project should begin with a vision document. The vision document tells you what will change in the world, and when it will change by. When you have a clear picture of what needs to change you have something to work towards. When you know when it needs to be done, you suddenly have action steps.
Think about this example:
Project 1: I want to design a new product that will replace my current business flagship product.
Project 2: By May 15, 2019, subject matter specialists who manage projects will have a tool for recording their project vision, statistics, and progress online.
The second project is a project that will be done. You will know when you will be done on time, and you have a vision for what the outcome will look like. With the time constraint, you know exactly what steps you have to take. It might be to hire software developers, and it might be complete the design of the online tool. The first project will likely never get done. You don’t know what the new product will look like and there is no urgency in completing the work. Without the deadline, you don’t know when you have to be done by. Everything that seems urgent will take priority over the project.
What If I Choose The Wrong Vision?
In a world of nearly infinite choice, we often find ourselves paralyzed because we don’t want to choose the wrong thing mistakenly. A beautiful side effect of being Done On Time is that you aren’t wrong when you complete a project.
When you define a project vision, and a date to have it done by, you are describing the way that you want to change the world, and when it will happen. You may get to the end of the project and discover that it wasn’t quite the way that you wanted to change the world, but there will be something different about the world today than it was when you started. This means that you have a few options:
- Create another project that builds on your current one to correct your course so that you end up closer to where you wanted to be.
- Recognize that the project you just finished is a good learning experience. Kind of like trying a new restaurant that you may end up liking or not.
- Use this as a catalyst to examine what you can do better when defining your project vision.
Your purpose for running a project is to make a change in the world. Your work has an impact. Your project means that something will be different. Thank you for making sure that we continue to move forward.