Purpose as a Lens for Finding Project Success

Devin is a Technical Project Manager in Baltimore.

Project management is a detail-oriented profession. It is easy to get lost in the weeds or drown in the details. When project managers get to this point, they can lose focus on why the project started. A project initiated with a clear goal in mind turns into a series of tasks to be completed. The focus shifts from the client’s needs and their purpose to getting the work done. The problem is that the project purpose and client’s needs should be what is driving each task throughout the project.

Early in a project, project managers work with their client to understand the business case behind it. This allows for further understanding of the requirements. Project managers learn the client’s needs and goals, which translates into tasks creating a deliverable or result that meets those initial requirements and business needs.

In this process, PMs start with the business’s purpose, determine the requirements to build the deliverable to meet that purpose and define the tasks to do so. This is a strong way to start a project. It starts with the client’s purpose, and then expands to define the deliverable to satisfy that purpose or need, and tasks how to get there.

As the project progresses, however, the details start to drown out the purpose. Decisions are made based on project constraints. The project is no longer focused on the purpose or …

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