Your project is in critical condition, and you cannot figure out why. Before you jump into the details, take a step back and confirm the project’s scope. Does the team truly understand what they are trying to achieve, beyond the requirements and tasks? What about the project objectives and the bigger picture?

Scope is like a telescope that helps us see what we cannot see. It illuminates the “why” of the project, going beyond the requirements and tasks to understand the project’s overall goals and objectives. Focusing only on requirements and tasks might lead to missing the bigger picture of what the project is intended to accomplish. Therefore, defining the scope as part of the project initiation process is crucial to understanding the project’s goals and boundaries.

Consider the example of painting a room. Breaking down the requirements and tasks might seem simple, but defining the scope helps to understand where the room fits into the overall scheme of the house. Is it the right color? Is it the right room? Are there other areas of the house that require higher priority? Answering these “why” questions helps to align the project’s objectives with the work that is already underway.

The first step to resuscitating your critical project is to ensure that your team understands the scope, maps out the project goals and boundaries, reconciles them with the work already underway, and aligns them with the stakeholders’ expectations. Make sure everyone understands the “why” of the project.

If you feel confident about your project scope, the next step is to check out the Project Team in the next post of the Project 911 series.