The Essential Questions to Project Success

Albert Einstein once said that if he had an hour to solve a problem, he would spend 55 minutes of it asking questions. This quote resonated with a situation that I have found myself in recently. As those who have read my recent blog posts will know, in the past month I have started a new job leading a project. On paper it all seemed ideally suited to me, however I found myself in the uncomfortable position of being 3 weeks in to my project and not feeling like I fully understood what direction I needed to go that would best suit the company. I felt there were gaps and it was really irritating me.

Whilst contemplating my dissatisfaction I realised the error of my ways. I didn’t go through the 6 point list. What are the 6 questions? Simply put:

What? – What is the project? What is the concept? What are the aims? What are the outcomes? What direction needs to be taken? What target market to focus on?

How? – How are you going to achieve what you’ve set out in the ‘what’ section?

Why? – Whilst ‘what’ is you bricks and mortar and ‘how’ explains how you’re going to put everything together, asking why makes you truly consider whether the decisions you’re taking are the right decisions.

Who? – Effective execution is usually based around a team. Who are you going to put your trust in to deliver? I’ve never been in anything worth shouting about that didn’t have a solid team behind it.

When? – Set yourself a target of when you’re going to finish and stick to it. Targets allow you to follow your roadmap and stay on course.

Where? – Location, location, location. Where are you going to do all of the above? The importance of where is dependent on each project, but sometimes ‘where’ is one of the most fundamental questions to ask.

Once I went through these questions, I realised I hadn’t fully answered how. I knew how I would execute the project, but what I didn’t know was how my company wanted me to execute the project. More than anything, these questions made me understand what I don’t know and what questions to ask as a result.

A bit of a bonus tip to everyone. Really do get yourself organised. Understand what you’ve got to do and when you’ve got to do it by. Use a task management system if you can. You’re bound to forget certain things if you don’t note them down in a dedicated place you’re likely to find that the thing you forgot has now significantly held up your progress.

But most of all persevere. Never give up, never give in and keep going.

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