Ulenda Pickett is a Project Manager and Scrum Master at ThreeWill. She has over 16 years of experience in managing and delivering projects.
Promoting Team Alignment – Exploring Project Vision and Approach
Team Alignment is a fundamental basis for all other aspects of project team collaboration. To accomplish this successfully, one aspect that needs to be considered is project vision and approach.
So, where do we start? It all begins with an idea, that we shape into a VISION.
What’s in a Vision – A Vision helps to ensure full clarity on the overarching request from the client. The vision should be kept at the forefront of thought and effort as work is performed in the process of providing a product or service to a client. Be sure to work with the client to ensure they too have clarity in their desired product/request for work to be performed.
The product vision clearly states the purpose of a product. It too should state its overarching benefit. This gives customers/users a clear understanding of why it should be used. The vision should let the customer know what they are expected to see. You can also provide examples of what you won’t see.
I recently heard the analogy from a client. They explained that you won’t see a relay runner failing to pass the baton to the next teammate. The client expects to see a clean handoff and a successful cross over the finish line.
The Client’s VISION clearly depicted expected results from team collaboration.
“Without a really good reason to build the product, and a purpose to the product, it doesn’t really make sense to build it. So, development starts with why, the Project Vision. Then Product Owner can think about how this purpose might be fulfilled, the functions and features of the product in the Product Backlog. The Development Team then has to build the product and decide on the what to do to deliver the how. They might decompose the Product Backlog into Tasks if it helps them.”
In conjunction with the Vision, the Scope of the project is detailed at a more granular level.
Every vision requires clearly defined scope and acceptance criteria. The scope, along with acceptance criteria provided in conjunction from the client, helps the developer build a product that meets client expectations. Make sure NOT to leave out any key pieces to support the scope. Without all the ingredients, the pie will leave a pretty nasty taste. So, think think think about all parts to deliver a minimal viable product, as indicated in the figure below, in advance.
Every project vision requires an approach and plan to make it a reality. I was recently tasked with ensuring we develop an approach and plan to complete an effort, I thought about the need for me to provide a blog post associated with our Scrum Masters Wildly Important Goals. These are important goals that we set for ourselves each quarter.
I thought ‘Oh how important and critical it is to know as early and quickly as possible what the Approach and Plan is to ultimately deliver something to the Client.’
Before diving deep into the project, I paused briefly to make sure I was reflecting on what all is involved. Sometimes we passively just do the things we know need to be done, without truly reflecting and appreciating the moment. If you don’t pause before diving into something important, there is a possibility that you will overlook something.
Of course, we can’t determine the Approach and Plan without fully knowing and understanding what the business need is. I’ve realized that the business in which we are working with has to be fully clear on their own vision and state very clearly their needs. Sometimes it requires them to do additional investigation, which if not fully and clearly understood, could have negative impacts on our Approach and Plan for the delivery. With this being said, below are a few key summarized items related to the Approach and Plan.
- Should clearly describe how something is to be accomplished
- Should be both very readable and steps involved should be stated as simply as possible
- Has to be given keen consideration to ensure the correct approach is being utilized
- If Vision is NOT clearly understood, go back to the client to get additional clarification
- Confirm targeted timeline that the business is expecting for the delivery
- Determine when deliveries can be provided. If using SCRUM, quite possible that working software can be provided every month or even more often, as shown below.
Project Vision and Approach are keystones to establishing a foundation for successful project team collaboration. However, they are not the only ingredients. A successfully collaborating team also requires formal organization, guiding principles, timeline/milestones, and budget. All of these ingredients provide a framework for team collaboration through the project lifecycle.
We’ll cover some of these additional areas of alignment in future blogs.
But for now, if you are itching for some more project approach blogs, click the “Learn more about – ThreeWill Approach” below.