5 Reasons to Define Project Vision
The ability to share a clear vision for a project is an often overlooked ingredient for success. Sharing her insights Lindsey Benaisaa explores the importance of defining project vision.
Regardless of the industry investment in business projects needs to be justified, both financially through the business case and strategically in terms of value. While many companies take the time to focus on the what of business change (outcomes required) many spend less time defining the why (business need). Below we explore some of the reasons why defining project vision is crucial for success.
Differing Priorities across the Board
When an organisation decides to undertake a programme of digital transformation, there needs to be a clear roadmap. If you do not have a clear definition of ‘done’, then the journey is likely to be both protracted and costly. Management needs to agree on why the programme is starting, where the programme is starting and what its achievements should be along the way. But prioritising those projects can be difficult as there are often equally urgent competing business needs – so setting the Business Vision and Goals for the programme will create a definition of done so there is a consensus on what those business needs are and their priority. This enables organisations to plot those individual projects into a roadmap and understand how they are going to reach their strategic goals.
Setting Stakeholder Expectations
Without a clear and common understanding of why an initiative or project is undertaken, stakeholders of the project may erroneously have a very subjective interpretation of the business value the project is going to deliver. Simply proceeding from budgetary approval to requirements gathering is likely going to result in some very disappointed stakeholders who may become overall detractors, diluting the perceived success of the project.
Therefore it is crucial that there is objectivity and consensus in the definition of why this project is happening and what its objectives truly are. As an example, the business vision for an integration project to store Marketing and Sales data in a single CRM is not undertaken to decommission various disparate systems and save on operational licencing and staff admin costs, but to consolidate data sources to have a Single View of the Customer which will ultimately allow the organisation to design personalised outbound Marketing programmes and increase Sales. Focusing purely on the consolidation of data sources alone without focusing on why this is happening may lead to an incorrect data schema or lack of features, and yet the project team believes they have delivered upon the ask. Without a clear mandate, the project team may make decisions that guide the solution away from its intended target, ultimately compromising the business value, while still technically delivering the requirements.
A solution that works but does not deliver
The lack of a clear vision statement for the project means the right goals may not be defined, critical success factors will be focused on the technical rather than the business outcomes, and key performance indicators if they exist will be incorrectly measuring the wrong criteria. The benefits of the change will be hazy, subjective, and focused on procedural improvements rather than strategic benefits. Frustration will follow, as will additional phases of implementation to ‘tweak’ and ‘enhance’ the solution to what should have been the baseline.
The result of unbounded stakeholder expectations means that stakeholders contributing to requirements finally have a vehicle to solve all their day-to-day operational woes. The business analyst is flooded with requirements and has no frame of reference with which to filter them with the all-important key question: ‘Does this requirement help us deliver your organisation’s vision and goals?’. The business finds it impossible to prioritise requirements having no foundational reference upon which to base their decision – or worse – incorrectly prioritises functions and features. All this leads to far more prioritised requirements than can be delivered within budget, resulting in spiralling costs and long project delays, all for a project that may not be building that crucial business capability.
Negative perception of project delivery
The perception of what ‘success’ means to the organisation needs to be clear, concise, commonly understood and – critically– clearly communicated in project and business communications. Change can be welcomed or resisted. The project team, all stakeholders and even end-users whether internal or external, will appreciate understanding how the change will positively impact their lives. Keys to success are trust and adoption of a solution; setting the Vision and Goals for a Project or Programme sets the framework for the work and more importantly for the outcomes that are to follow, which encourages early stakeholder buy-in and engagement – two key components to trust and adoption of a solution.
To set your project up successfully, leverage a Vision and Goals strategy session, to ensure your organisation’s investment in projects and programmes are lined up for success.