Having a clear documented goal is the way to go. Many projects change in direction or deviate some point in the process. This is due to many reasons such as finding a better solution or a better way to accomplish the project’s goal. If that’s the case, then that’s a plus given to the team. However, if the direction changes or deviation is caused by an unclear or blurry goal, then the project will yield different results.
A clear documented goal and the way to accomplish it could be reached by creating four documents. The four documents are as following:
- Charter: The document outlining the project’s Scope & Objectives, Impact, Deliverables, Interfaces and Risk & Constraint Management.
- Project Plan: The steps that should be taken to accomplish the project’s desired outcomes. It could be shown at a higher level breakdown of major activities and tasks and broken down further to show individual tasks assigned to project members.
- Team Roster: The document containing information about the project team and external people involved in the project. It provides names, roles, email addresses, organizations they belong to, and their Full Time Equivalence (FTE) in the project.
- Reporting Template: Where progress of the project gets reported in periodic basis. In this document the project team could report their % completion on the project, % completion on each milestone, issues and risks being faced, a mitigation plan, current focus area and changes required on the project team.
By having such documents “under the same name of different names”, the project team could always go back and recheck the progress and direction to ensure movement in right direction. The Charter is the document to be checked at the completion of the project. It has what needs to be done and accomplished. The project plan is the path towards completion and accomplishment. The team roster is who is on board and what contribution and role is played by each. Finally, the reporting template is the health check and prescription to any issue.
Without having this set of documentation, the project might deviate from the original path and give different results because there was no written and clear direction and requirements guiding the team. From personnel experience, people act differently and commit more to documented process and requirements. Many projects have failed in organizations due to blurry paths and not having the book to go back to and validate what they are doing. Moreover, ending up with the wrong results might cause a restart from point zero and having to spend more time, money and energy to accomplish what was supposed to be accomplished.
The key element is to stay focused, and to do so, a project needs a clear documented goals and way to accomplish them.