New Question

Every day I’m asked this question

It can be executives, managers, project directors, sponsors, journalists, panelists, audience……the list goes on.

I used to answer it differently.

I use to say hire the best project/program director manager you can find and afford.

But I’ve realised it’s not enough.

Even the best project or program person won’t get you the result you want unless you can complete the following sentence

When this is done I’ll be able to……….

I know we have an aversion to using “I”. We’re told everything has to be we. Well in this instance if you are the person wanting something done then I’s the go. You can change to we once you’ve completed the sentence. But you have to complete the sentence.

If you’re asking someone why they want the project/outcome ask it this way

When this is complete what will you be able to do?

Here are some answers I’ve received over recent years

  • Get the sales guys to open this new market and add X to the bottom line
  • Meet revenue and profit targets reducing COGS
  • Get the end of month/quarter/year results within days rather than weeks
  • Be first to market and block the competitors – ensuring our leadership position
  • Pass the XXX audit and get back to work
  • Expand into new territories
  • Reduce staffing costs by X% – which will go directly to the bottom line
  • Get promoted/bonus
  • Claim we are green and sustainable
  • Reduce the cost of ongoing maintenance by X%
  • Attract candidates from the big six universities
  • Decommission our aging infrastructure and save $X
  • Onboard 3 new clients a month instead of the current 1 every two months
  • Retire with this as my legacy.

I could go on as I’ve been collecting these answers for a few years now as part of a longitudinal study into what makes projects and programs successful. Try answering for yourself and see what you come up with.

Oh, and the question I am most often asked?

What’s the one thing that is most important for project/program success?

The answer I give now is

Being very clear about why you’re doing it.

The why informs the how, and sometimes can moderate the what.

It’s simple but not always easy. Be brave, dig deep and complete the sentence

When this is done I’ll be able to……….