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Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Business Blog
This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Give 'em the Business -- In a weekly StickyMinds (free registration required) column, Elizabeth Hendrickson talks about the need to get out of your silo (or out of your foxhole, whichever metaphor works for you better) so that you can understand the holistic, company-wide, bottom-line implications of your work. Writing for a software-centric audience (but universally applicable, in my opinion), she suggests to...
Think about the project you're working on now. Mentally examine your part of it, then expand your mind to encompass the entire project. Think about all the groups working on it and what they do. Think about the timeline. And think about the anticipated end result. Got all that firmly in the forefront of your consciousness? Good, because it's quiz time. See if you can answer the following questions: 
1. Why is this project important? 
2. How does it contribute to the long term strategic direction of the company? 
3. How will it improve the company's competitive position in the near term? 
4. How much will it cost? 
5. What financial benefits (reduced costs, increased revenues, etc.) will the project bring? 
6. Who will benefit most from a successful outcome to this project? 
7. What will happen if the project fails? 
8. What capabilities will the users find most compelling and why? 
9. If users don't use this software, what will they use instead? 
10. How well would the majority of the technical contributors on the project answer these questions?
My final question is more personal: how did you feel when you were answering those questions?
Unless there is comfort in addressing these questions, it will be difficult to make really effective decisions about what you're doing. There's a lot of talk these days about conversations in projects, and between the customer and deliverer members of the project team. There also needs to be conversations (and plans) conecting the projects with the rest of the business as well. Otherwise, what might "emerge" might not really be in alignment with the larger organization's needs.

(Actually, as I think about it, the first nine of Elizabeth's questions should all be easily answered by looking in the documents that make up the charter and the plan of the project.)

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