Improve Project Success Rate Using Three Lenses

I’ve read an article which addresses the three main lenses that should be taking into consideration prior to perusing with any project to guarantee a higher success rate and will effect and transform the organization. I related to that article because I work in the construction field and I pass this a lot. The lenses are:

  • The strategic design lens,
  • The political lens.
  • The cultural lens.

1. The strategic design lens is what I see in many project managers do and I’m one of them in order to stay within the main frame of the organization’s strategy; thus will help provide some type of synergy with all the constraints that the project’s environment will have. This can be demonstrated through several questions like (i.e. what am I trying to accomplish with this project? how this project is different from other projects that serve the same concept and idea?).

Moreover; the project must attain not only the design aspect but also the strategy side as well through a set of questions as well like (i.e. what is the strategic grouping of  our project and the principles behind it? the pros and cons of such a project?, what are the challenges and performance measures towards achieving the goal?).

2. The political lens that used to determine the interest, habits and relationships between the stakeholders. And this can be addressed through certain questions such as (i.e. whom this project will effect and will it have oppositions? Will the opposition delay the project or will the power status will be influenced? And what powers are will be supporting such a project?).

Furthermore, once the project manager understand the magnitude of such lens he/she will be able to determine even the allies that will help success of the project and will insure the commitment of the stakeholders involved. This will need highly skilled negotiations to obtain project resources as the article suggests and I agree as well on it.

3. The cultural lens would show the fortification aspects that are essential to any organization and is demonstrated by stories, artifacts and observations of the employee’s behavior, in which will be beneficial to the success of any project.

Aside from the culture lens, there are subcategories that lay side by side in determining the success of a project. These are the sub-cultural and the conceptual models. These can be easily attributed by simply asking direct questions (i.e. how would this project be represented to the larger organization? is the language used in demonstrating this project is a reflection of the language that is spoken in the organization itself?). I’ve witness myself a lot of organizations were concurred by projects that changed the core value of an organization and shifted the way they were running.

Attempting to use these three lenses framework will provide different perspectives to the project in which will help enhance the way the organization deals with the pitfalls and the corrections before the project fails.



3 thoughts on “Improve Project Success Rate Using Three Lenses

  1. I believe those lenses are important prior to starting any project as well as during the project. Wearing those lenses all the time does help especially in large scale projects. 1. The strategic design lens, I think we should continue raising the same question; are we on the right track? 2. The political lens; any new changes happen that I should take into consideration that might affect the progress of the project? 3. The cultural lens, cultural habits and norms are hardly changing therefore during the projects I think it’s just need to be constantly watched for so not to be breached!

  2. Many people does not consider the fact that culture and politics inside the enterprise impacts directly the success or the failure of projects. So it’s very important as this article stated to consider looking from different perspectives to improve the chance of success.

  3. I believe all these lenses are very critical to project success. From my personal experience, I think the political lens is the most critical in a bigger organization where your have more process, projects with higher visibility, and sharing or resources, that you have skills and support necessary to successfully finish given project in this environment. Building political relationships takes long time and may put you at disadvantage in the beginning if you are new to the management role or to the organization.

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