Start with the End in Mind

Published: Sunday, 12 January 2020 17:20

Start with the end in mind - a good motto for life as well as work. It’s blatantly obvious but rarely done properly.

The purpose behind any course of action has a direct and significant effect on the way it is undertaken. The reasons why affect the ways we go about things. 

 

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If Florence Nightingale had set out just to make nursing a respectable job for the daughters of the lower-middle class then her achievements for patients would have been very different.

Here's a sports analogy, a football manager’s side and tactics will adapt to the objective:

The same applies for any project, the ends affect the means and ways. Projects talk of acceptance criteria, the things that decide when the project has ended successfully, a sort of, “No-one goes home until…”

Define your acceptance criteria in terms of objectives and benefits before you start. Don’t install the kit and then wonder what to do with it. Too often, projects leave benefits realisation until it’s too late, i.e. at the end of the project. That’s why benefits should be managed from the start.

Some organisations demand a hard financial return.

Some want intangible improvements like satisfaction and image.

Usually, they want both. That’s when conflicting objectives throw a spanner in the works. That’s why clear objectives are crucial.

Florence Nightingale and other examples are available as phone lock-screen pics: