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7 Questions You Should Ask When You Launch a New Project

I’m launching a new project that will significantly propel the LGL mission of growing leaders with the confidence and humility to make a deeper impact on the world. It’s a strong team, and I found us organically asking one another questions to frame our mission and set us up for success. There was no checklist, but I thought, “Wow, wouldn’t it be helpful for others in such scenes if there were?”

And so today, I offer 7 questions to ask before you launch any significant project.

7 Questions You Should Ask Before You Launch a New Project

1. Why is this project vital?

Why are we doing this?  Why now? Who will benefit and what do they most need? How much will it cost and why is it worth the investment?

2. What does success look like?

How will we measure our success? What are the process measures that will let us know we are on track?

3. Who else must we include?

Who do we need to be successful? Who are key stakeholders who should be brought in early?

4. How will we communicate?

We’re actually using some cool collaboration systems, including Hall, Gather Content and Cage.

5. How does this project integrate with other work underway?

In my work at Verizon this was always one we had to consider well. It’s worth going slow to go fast in this phase to ensure there’s no redundancy or worse, competing efforts.

6. What can we learn from others who’ve done similar work?

Again, it’s worth taking the time to benefit from other people’s key learnings. Breakthroughs are almost always improvements of work that has come before. Be sure you know what that is.

7. Who will do what by when?

Too many project teams jump right into the action planning. Asking the first six questions first will help to ensure you plan is effective.

So, Karin, what’s the project? Ahh, that leads to the bonus question, “When do you announce your plans?” Stay tuned.

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Posted in Career & Learning, Communication and tagged , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

10 Comments

  1. Karin,

    Oh, don’t tease us! Can’t wait to hear about the new project. Given your track record, I’m sure it will be a smashing success. Best of luck to you and your project team.

    • Jennifer, Wait for it…. 😉 I appreciate your kind words. I want to be sure I have all the details worked out before sharing the excitement. Thanks as always for your support.

  2. What is the level of commitment to this project?
    Who will be impacted this project?
    Who needs to be directly involved, who needs to support, who needs to be informed? Part of your #3
    What could be unintended consequences?
    What are forces that will help move this project forward? What are forces that will impede momentum?
    What breakthroughs would make this project move forward at warp speed?
    Could we create a rapid prototype of the finished project?
    What are creative ways to tackle this project?
    What change management practices need to accompany implementation of this project?

    • Excellent additions, Marc! For levels of commitment, I developed definitions for various levels (champion down to opponent) & query where people are (this requires a team with strong relationships) & what it would take to move them to be champions.

      For unintended consequences, I encourage the team to consider postive, negative, & neutral.

      To your list I would add “What are the natural tensions inherent in the project that the team must address consciously to be successful?”

    • Paul, Fantastic approach! All great comments and additions. Thanks.

  3. This is a great list of questions, Karin!

    To me, the place to start is always with this: what does success look like? I think too many people have no idea of what success looks or feels like. Instead, they delegate it to a numbers game where it’s all about income…and that may be enough to get you started but it is NEVER enough to sustain you over the long haul.

    All best in this project! Can’t wait to hear more!!!

    • LaRae, I so agree. I’ve learned the hard way by jumping in without asking that question.

  4. Woohoo a new project! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

    Your questions are excellent for launching a new project. I especially love the one that talks about measurement. In a problem solving program yesterday, the participants had to come up with ways to not only clearly define their problem but also how to measure it. We talked a lot about making sure they knew what it would look like when the problem was resolved.

    Thanks Karin and I am awaiting your news!

    • Terri, Excellent. Sometimes really spending time on the measurements is a great way to generate needed actions.

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