Visualizing Your Project: Start with a Blank Slate

Naomi Caietti, PMP is managing editor of She launched her own consulting company to provide global, on-demand virtual services for clients that need a speaker, author or coach.

Many projects start this way: Executives have an idea, concept or initiative and rely on a business case, project proposal and concept/issue paper to help formulate a solution for the business opportunity. Sound familiar? I bet many of you have written many of these documents—and then sat around a table talking about whether to do nothing or build/buy a unique product, service or result.

Wouldn’t it be nice to insert critical and creative thinking into your projects? Your teams and stakeholders can then visualize how to implement creative and innovative approaches during any phase of your project. Because don’t we make assumptions, stop formulating ideas or get hung up on group think as soon as a document, idea or the status quo sneaks into our team meetings?

So, what are some ways to set your documents and technical tools aside and bring out that blank slate so project leaders can leverage the best ideas from your team to crank up the innovation? Let’s look at how we can start with a blank slate to visualize our projects creatively and be successful as project leaders…

What is a Blank Slate?
Now, I’ll be the first one to tell you: I love my technical tools. But what I love more is starting with a blank slate and some writing utensils. A blank slate can be an 8½x11 piece of paper, a stack of yellow notes, a large whiteboard …

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"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."

- Howard Aiken