Friday, February 05, 2016

Why are we actually doing this project?

Why are we actually doing this project?
In a number of projects I have been part of, one of the most important questions was asked not at all or far too late.

Why are we doing this project?

When we got to the answer to this question, it was often incomplete or incorrect. The latter sometimes even knowingly incorrect, i.e. an organizational/political/personal lie.

I admit my experience is biased because I typically join projects at a point of time the project already has some serious issues and my role is helping to solve these issues. But even in good running projects, the question of why we are doing this project seems rather difficult to answer.

That is why I use a set of eleven questions that together will help you answer the big one.

1) Exactly what problem will this project solve? (value proposition)

2) For whom do we solve that problem? (target market or target users)

3) How big is the opportunity? (market size, potential savings, risk reduction)

4) What alternatives are out there? (competitive landscape or alternative solutions/products/suppliers)

5) Why are we best suited to pursue this? (our differentiator as a company or project team)

6) Why now? (market window and urgency)

7) How will we get this project go live? (implementation strategy)

8) How will we measure success/make money from this product? (metrics/revenue strategy)

9) What factors are critical to success? (solution requirements, skill requirements, budget)

10) What are the main cost drivers? (people, licenses, hardware, training, ...)

11) Given the above, what’s the recommendation? (go or no-go, continue or stop)

One of the first thing I start doing when I join a project is trying to get answers to these questions.

They will help to guide your project, give you and the team focus, and will help you with stakeholder discussions.

When things change you will have to rethink your answers. And sometimes you will just have to stop the project.
Posted on Friday, February 05, 2016 by Henrico Dolfing

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