I tend to look at every little assignment as a project of sorts. So, every big project has a whole bunch of small projects.
And when a project doesn’t get done in a way that satisfy the ‘giver’ of the project or the ‘doer’ of the project, most of the time, the issue is one of structure. Infusing structure in a project is fairly straightforward – ask the 4Ws and H questions.
Why are we doing this? i.e. Purpose, Reason
What outputs are we expected to deliver? i.e. Deliverables, Scope
By When are we expected to do this? i.e. Timeline
Who will be the stakeholders? i.e. Team, sponsors
How are we planning to do it? i.e. Method, Plan
The reason most projects are structured wrong is that there hardly ever seems time to clarify most of these questions at the start of the project. This is a period when we are driven by adrenaline at the thought of the change we are hoping to bring. Questions around scope and timeline may be answered but the purpose, the deliverables and the stakeholder engagement is hardly ever done properly because this stuff takes time.
When we don’t spend the time upfront, it inevitably comes back to bite us and requires us to spend much more time aligning everyone involved and clarifying purpose.
Ever wondered why so many projects end up in the back burner? Now you know..