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Improving Project Management: Focusing The Vision

Originally posted: November 9, 2012 on TrishMcFarlane.com

If you work in business for very long, eventually you’ll be tasked with heading up a project.  The key to your project success is largely dependent on your ability to create the vision to allow you, and possibly a team, to reach the project goal.  The problem many project managers face is that they immediately jump to the tasks on the path to reach the goal.  The step that is glossed over is the time needed to focus the vision.

Why is this important?

Without a focused vision that clearly gives the reasoning as to why the new approach is significantly better, people will not be motivated to buy into the idea. Steve Boese wrote a post and shared the theory that a new idea needs to be at least nine times better than the current state in order for people to make the change willingly.  I believe that directionally, that is true.   So, how do you begin to focus the vision of the project so that it becomes actionable by the target audience?

By working through three areas:

  1. Concerns- List out every possible concern you think your target audience will have as it relates to the project or the change you’re asking them to accept.
  2. Interests- What are the interests of the group?  What will motivate them to accept the new vision?
  3. Wins- What can you show to the group as a “win” for them?  What will success look like?

I find myself jotting down ideas on post it notes, scraps of paper, or napkins.  The point is that you can use these three categories to work through just about any type of new idea so that you can create a more focused business vision that people can buy in to.

Here’s a sample I created for why a business should implement a social media plan:

Once you have your ideas listed, you can begin crafting a vision statement or mission that tells the audience what’s in it for them.  Once you have that hook, you are much more likely to have adoption of your idea.

So, what tools do you use to work through adoption of a product or idea?  Share it in the comments please.

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