Get there with direction

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10 June 2014

I've been naval gazing a lot about the philosophy of 'direction' over the past few months, specifically the direction that we choose to take in our lives, with work, with consumer choices and what ultimately helps us make our decisions.

Inevitably we'll all reach a point where we are going to be unsure about the future, and what the outcome will be. Naturally we're inclined to be optimistic and head towards the better of our possible outcomes based entirely on gut feeling.

Recently, work commitments saw me consider the option of relocating to another city, and I considered it intently, though couldn't come to a solid conclusion because I didn't know what my life goals were clearly enough. I didn't move and it turned out to be the wrong thing to do.

When it comes to the digital space, project management hits similar roadblocks on a daily basis with someone, usually the Executive Producer, being there to assist with making the right decision on direction—usually under great amounts of pressure—and also based on gut feeling. These quick–fire decisions can make or break a project and hang heavily on the EP's shoulders.

If everything goes south they're the one to bear the brunt of the fallout. Simply being optimistic though isn't going to cut it.

Given it is every day practice for Project Managers and Product Owners to make these decisions it's important to ensure two things:

  1. Projects are driven by business goals (other than money)
  2. There is clear direction on the outcome of the entire project
  3. They have ownership and ability to communicate

The first being the the most important aspect of the decision making process. If a project's goals don't gave specific business based KPIs then there is most likely little reason to complete it and stakeholders will have differing outcomes in mind that will clash.

We also want our business reason to be non-money based as for the most part it will be a given that monies will be the end result. It should be on a percentage increase of acquisitions, greater customer engagement, and most importantly tangible. It's the 'what'.

Following on from this we'll seek direction in clear and concise outcomes for our projects, such becomes the 'how' we are going to achieve a successful outcome for out business goals. The implementation of technology will be driven by data and knowledge over emotion and feeling as I've outlined in previous articles.

Lastly, we can arrive at successful outcomes by clearly articulating our goals and business outcomes as we're then able to empower our project managers with the ability to foresee what should happen throughout a project.

Eventually we get to a point where the quick–fire decisions are much easier and far less risky. Project managers are happier because they are empowered and know that they're making project decisions from good, quality knowledge.