Foreshadowing in literature is when the reader gets a small taste or a hint of what is to come. The foreshadowing could be through a passing comment, something that a character sees, or an emotion that they feel. As a reader, you don’t know that this is foreshadowing because you don’t see the future exactly.
As a project manager, you can use foreshadowing as a helpful tool to prepare people for the change that is about to happen. While most stakeholders know that there is a change coming, the project manager and business analysts often have the clearest picture of what the end-state will be. Project managers and analysts are the people who are designing and implementing the change. As you move through your project plan, you can foreshadow what is to come by in your everyday work.
Examples of Foreshadowing
- If you are implementing a new CRM system, you circulate a list of connection information for each stakeholder in the project. Your list is not a CRM, but it foreshadows the concept that people believe that being connected and having contact information is important.
- If your project is to deliver on a cultural exhibition, you may put a picture of a red carpet on the last page of your project charter. This small gesture can indicate that when you get to the end of the project, a red carpet awaits.
Foreshadowing can be a way to align people’s thoughts and emotions towards the core principles of the project. As you design and deliver your project, light the path for those who will benefit from the change using foreshadowing.