Project Success – Begin With The End

Mike Girdler

Hello, project success! Do you ever get into your car and start driving with no idea where you’re going? Not likely! When you start out, …

Hello, project success!

Do you ever get into your car and start driving with no idea where you’re going? checkered flagNot likely! When you start out, you know where you’re going to end up. It’s the same way when we’re managing projects. We begin with the end, or result in mind.

It doesn’t matter what aspect of project management we’re referring to, understanding what we are looking to achieve, or end, is critical to success from the very beginning. Think about when you’re planning a project, could you imagine not having a scope statement that clearly indicates what your project is going to deliver? How would you be able to create budgets, timelines, human resources requirements, in short, how would you be able to plan properly at all? You wouldn’t, of course. Knowing where you’re going to end up, and what you’re going to deliver, from the outset is critical to ensuring efficient, effective project management.

Do you know what you want to accomplish before you hold a team meeting, or is it just an organic exercise that takes on a life of its own and ends up wherever it ends up? The point is, even with our team meetings, we begin with the end in mind. We establish up front what the intention of the meeting is. This acts as a road map to help ensure all of our efforts are focused on delivering on our meeting goal, objective, or intention. Knowing where we’re going allows us to hold efficient, effective meetings that help ensure our project stays on a path to success.

Likely, not every change request on your project is approved. For project success, it’s key that we understand the end deliverable from the outset to be able to effectively and objectively evaluate a change request? Without a solid understanding of where we’re going, it would be very easy for changes to negatively impact scope, budgets, and schedules. Again, when evaluating change requests, we need to constantly evaluate with the end in mind.

These are a few examples that illustrate the necessity of beginning any aspect of a project with the end in mind. A good scope statement, a meeting intention, or a change request, knowing where we’re going, and beginning with the end in mind helps ensure our project has the best chance for success.

Do you know where your project is going? Feel free to leave a comment below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you could always write your own blog post on the subject and share it with us… We’d love to read it!


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Michael Girdler is a vice-president, CornerStone Dynamics Inc. His blogs focus on all things project management. Throughout Mike's career, he has invested deeply into projects involving sales, marketing, training and development, continuing education, and communications environments.

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