Before you develop a vision you need to know what motivates you
I have written a number of posts on the importance of project vision. I am stating that one of the most important factors of project success is building a project vision with your team. It is crucial that everyone actively involved understands and supports this vision. It defines the direction of your project, gives it an orientation like a lightpost in the dark.
The question is what can you do if your project lacks this project vision. Where do you start? This can be a difficult and simple question at the same time. My proposed response is this: you have to know what motivates you to start the project in the first place. In other words, what is the purpose of your project? Simple, isn’t it. — Is it really? Are you sure that you know the driver of your project? Do you know the underlying motivation or just symptoms?
This is how I proceed. Say, you are facing an issue (problem, challenge, opportunity, or whatever you may want to call it), ask yourself what is the real issue? Then go on and ask Why? Take this answer and again pose the Why? question again. Repeat this up to 5 times. As you get deeper and deeper into this analysis you get closer and closer to the root cause of your issue.
Next, find out who is affected by this issue and what impacts the issue(s) have on them and why. Once more, dig deep enough and pose the why?-question until you identify the true motivator or concern of the affected persons.
Continue, asking what would happen if nothing changes, i.e., the issue (you identified in the first question) could not be resolved, and ask why this is so.
Summarize your answers in a statement like “The issue(s) of … affect(s) … The impact(s) of which is (are) …”. I call this a motivation statement. It is the starting point to describe your vision, the resolution to the identified problem (or motivation).
The “search” for the motivation of your project may be simple or it can be quite time consuming. Either way, this effort pays off. You want to know what drives your project – and, if it is actually worth pursuing it. If so, go ahead and build a project vision around it. To learn more what it takes to build a project vision, read my book “Leadership Principles for Project Success”. Free reading samples are available at www.TheProjectLeadershipPyramid.net.