Vision is a way to describe the ultimate scope of the work that you are doing. A vision for an organization will illustrate how far you want to go as you are delivering your mission. A vision statement on your project describes the far reaches of the impact that the project will have.
The Project Vision You Can’t Achieve
Be wary of unachievable project visions:
- “This project will eliminate poverty in the greater Halifax area.”
- “The summer sports program will provide a place for all youth to have safe and engaging summer activities.”
These might be vision statements that are helpful for your organization, but they aren’t achievable in a single project. A project is a time-limited activity that requires resources to accomplish something that hasn’t been done before. If the scope of your plan is to eliminate all poverty or serve all youth, you have two problems:
- You have set yourself up to get to this result only once (or at a single point in time.)
- The resources (people, time, money, social capital) needed to complete these ‘all’ statements are nearly infinite. And you don’t have nearly unlimited resources.
Project Visions That You Achieve
In your time-limited project that is achieving a specific result, your project vision can contribute to the grander vision.
- This project will give single-parent families tools to address issues that lead to chronic unemployment or under-employment. [As a step to achieving the greater vision of eliminating poverty in the greater Halifax area.]
- This project will build a registration and marketing system that could be accessed by all youth. [So that the summer sports program can provide a place for all youth to have safe and engaging summer activities.]
Organizational Vision vs Project Vision
An organization’s vision statement is beyond the current resources you have. If you could solve the big problem you are addressing; someone would. A project’s vision statement must be limited to the resources available. You must give a clear picture of what you are working towards. You also must be able to answer yes to the question, “Have we done that?” at the end of the project.
You need a project vision statement because it gives people the reason and inspiration for the work that they are doing. People will be more engaged in your project when the vision is achievable, and it works towards the larger, more difficult, vision of the organization.