Saturday 1 January 2022

Clarify the purpose of the project

Last time, i explained the importance of keeping arrangements in place and when and in what units to plan for the project. from this 11th time, i would like to take a closer look at how to make the "contents" of the plan.

planning a project actually means creating a document called a "project plan" and obtaining the agreement of the parties concerned.

a project plan is a document that describes the scope of the project, the work schedule, structure, expected costs, and other things that are planned to promote the project, and the project members will work according to the plan.

this plan can be hundreds of pages for large projects, but for small projects, imagine about 30 pages of paperwork. it takes quite a while to write, and it is a difficult task, but if you do not elaborate the plan and clarify the contents, you will not be able to accurately share how to proceed with the project with the people involved.


you can see how quickly you want to get to the actual work of the project, but if you carefully write a plan here, the smoothness of the rest of the work will be completely different. in particular, when carrying out projects with members who have not worked with much before, that is, people who do not understand "ah and yes breathing", "imai and aging plan" often causes useless work and fatal mistakes. let's keep in mind "hurry up" here.

there is also another important point when creating a project plan. it's about creating a plan that involves stakeholders who are planning to be a key member of the project, not a single project manager. by consulting on how to proceed with the project and considering ideas together, not only will the accuracy of the plan be improved, but it can also increase the awareness of participation among members. it is necessary to build a relationship here that allows you to cooperate more independently in project promotion as "a plan created by sharing wisdom together", not "a plan given by the project manager".

in addition, there are some schools of how to write a project plan. as a result, the items included in the plan, how to call it, the composition, etc. will change slightly, but in this series, we will stop following or being aware of any school in particular. as can be said in this series in general, i would like to explain the contents of the plan, which is generally included in any school and is important for the success of the project from my own consulting experience, with an emphasis on versatility and comprehensibility.

the first thing to include in a project plan is the "purpose" of the project.

in order to implement a project, there must be a "clear purpose" of why the project should be done. but what a number of projects have unclear objectives!

the purpose of a project is to be the foundation of the project. only if there is a purpose, "what to do with the project" and "how to proceed with the project" can be decided firmly, and if the project is carried out with the fundamentals in a wobbly state, the following serious problems will occur.

  1. it is not possible to make an appropriate decision on what should be prioritized and truncated in the project 
  2. at the end of the project, it is not possible to evaluate whether the goal was achieved (that is, whether the project was successful) 
  3. the person involved in the project cannot be unified, leading to a decrease in the motivation of the members

the purpose is to clarify "what you want to get" and "what you are happy about" depending on the project. this allows you to combine the benefits of the organization (such as the company) that is the basis of the project with the activities of the project and explain the need to do the project. however, there are many cases where the contents of the plan have the "purpose" item itself, but the content is not appropriate. here are three patterns of inappropriate targeting:

(1) confused purpose and means

Sometimes you see projects with the goal of "integrating a and b information systems into one." however, this alone does not pin "what do you want to get" and "what you are happy about". integrating a system is a means (what you do in a project), not a purpose (what do you do for what). if the integration of information systems is a solid policy, we will not deny including the desired sentence, but we must always clarify what we are trying to obtain from it (for example, "integrate a and b information systems into one, reducing operating costs and improving customer service").

(2) since the "purpose" that does not explain why such a purpose was set is the basis of the project, the project manager must be able to explain to the parties concerned that the purpose itself is appropriate. when asked about the purpose you set, you may want to re-open it, "no, because the manager says you can do this~", but then neither the project manager or the project members are motivated.

to explain that the objectives you set up are appropriate, you need to capture the "background" behind the project's launch. in other words, it is necessary to understand the situation in which the organization that is the parent organization of the project is located, the direction in which the organization is going to move, and what is currently a challenge with the purpose of the project.


let's arrange the "background" in the project plan and write it. this will allow you to explain clearly at any time, and you should be able to share the sense of purpose of the project members at a deeper level.

(3) the purpose should be specific so that the project, which lacks concreteness and cannot be determined to achieve, can be evaluated as a successful project. since numerical targets (e.g., 30% reduction in operating costs in one year) will be set in another item of the project plan, it is not necessary to elaborate so much in the target item, but you must be able to understand "what kind of state you will achieve" as the goal of the project.

however, in many cases, defining multiple states must be defined to clarify the goals of a project, and a series of sentences for those purposes can be confusing. it is recommended to write "purpose" in a simple and straight expression, and then define the state of the goal as a "goal" in bullet points.

"purpose": "what you can get" and "happy things"
by the project, "direction" "goal" - "state" that shows how far you run toward that direction is the goal

i think that it is easy to understand if you think.

for example, it's like this.

1. purpose of the project 


In recent years, the market of ○○ has been shrinking year by year due to the declining birthrate and aging population in japan, and this trend is expected to continue in the future. under such circumstances, competition for survival is becoming fierce in the ○○ industry to which we belong, and our share of the industry, which has gained the industry's largest position with high-quality services, is threatened by start-ups with low prices as a weapon.

while further improving our services to protect our brand image so far, ensuring price competitiveness by cost reduction has become our top management issue, and in particular, it is urgent to advance reforms of operations and information systems that are causing inefficiencies and service declines due to business integration with ○○ company last year.

this project will be implemented to review customer management operations and their systems as part of the reform.

1.2. Objective Integrate A and B information systems into one to reduce operating costs and improve customer service.

1.3. Achieve

Targets and significantly reduce the operating costs of customer management operations.

  • Reduce it department costs required for the operation and maintenance of customer management systems.
  • Reduce the frequency of false shipments that lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction.
  • Reduce response lead times for customer inquiries.
  • Prevent leakage of customers' personal information by improving security.

How about this. it's not that you have to write in a configuration like in the example above, but when planning, be aware of this perspective.

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