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Ensuring Project Success with a Project Vision Statement

Ensuring Project Success with a Project Vision StatementOne of the basic leadership and management principles is to communicate a clear vision. How can we apply this principle to project management and substantially increase the odds of success of our projects?

The project vision statement provides a simple, clear, and concise description of the purpose of your project. It allows team members and stakeholders to quickly have a good understanding of the project’s goal. New employees and new team members will also benefit by quickly getting familiar with the project. You can also use this vision statement as the elevator pitch to sell or get approval for your project and great ideas.

Often, after a few months of starting the project, people forget the main objectives. However, thanks to the project vision statement, they can immediately refresh their memory in a few quick seconds.

The best project vision statements have the following four main sections:

  1. Product name, product category, and compelling benefit
  2. Primary and secondary users
  3. Key benefits of the system
  4. Comparison to current product and/or alternatives

The recommended format is as follows (Adapted from: In Search of Excellent Requirements, Karl E. Wiegers).

  1. The <product name> is a <product category> that <key benefit, compelling reason to buy/develop>.
  2. The primary users are <primary users> who <statement of the need or opportunity>. The secondary users are <secondary users> who <statement of the need or opportunity>.
  3. The system <Additional key benefits>.
  4. Unlike <primary competitive alternative or current system>, our product <statement of primary differentiation>.


The following is an excellent example of a project vision statement.

MyCarInsurance app is a mobile application that enables customers to quickly and easily view and manage their policies and claims right from the convenience of their phone. This will increase new business by 15%, and customer retention by 32%.

The primary users are our insurance customers who manage policies and claims right from their mobile device.  Secondary users are their family members and friends who receive detail information of an accident.

The system provides insurance customers the ability to view policies, make certain updates to policies, view invoices, make and manage payments, scan documents, parse information from images, report and manage claims, and with a single click notify family and friends after a car accident. Also with a couple of clicks the customer can report a claim and request a tow truck and a police officer. Selected family members and friends receive detail information about the accident, including location, date and time, pictures, and optional text/voice message. The system also notifies traffic services like Google, Waze, and Tomtom.

Unlike our existing system and competing apps, MyCarInsurance mobile app has a multitude of useful tools; leverages crowdsourcing and the latest technology; minimizes the hassle, stress and anxiety of car accidents; and expedites help.


Team-AlignmentAs you can see from this example, vision statements can be read in less than a minute; oftentimes in less than 30 seconds. They provide a quick and effective overview of the important aspects of the project. By following the template above, the business analyst or the project manager can swiftly create the project vision statement and ensure that everyone has the same understanding of the project’s objectives.

I have been successfully using this tool for a number of years, and it is one of my favorite in my toolbox. I strongly recommend that you write a vision statement and copy it to the project charter, requirements document, design document, project status reports, and other important documents. This will ensure that everyone in the team works together in the same direction, and will largely increase your project’s success rate. Start using this wonderful tool today!

What other benefits can you get from the project vision statement? What other great tools can you share? Please write a comment below.



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Recommended books from Amazon.com related to this article:

In order to maximize IT resources and justify IT expenditures, CIO’s and other IT managers must be able to identify meaningful metrics and explain them in a way that management can understand. The Business Value of IT: Managing Risks, Optimizing Performance and Measuring Results solves this problem by providing practical answers to these questions: What does IT contribute to the business? Why should we care about IT governance? How can we best measure IT performance? How do we mitigate the risks associated with change? Leading consultants Michael D. Harris, David E. Herron, and Stasia Iwanicki share their real-world experiences to explain how you can demonstrate IT’s value, and potentially find extra value you didn’t know your IT organization creates. They also show how to apply risk management to process improvement and avoid unintended consequences of process improvement programs. The text provides the understanding required to discover the processes necessary to: prioritize your organization’s IT activities, identify alternative measurement frameworks, and evaluate the best approaches to outsourcing.

Project Management Metrics, KPIs, and Dashboards: A Guide to Measuring and Monitoring Project Performance gives a history on early project metrics, and how metrics are used on today's projects. The book shows many techniques that any professional project manager could use, and with a focus on corporate decision-makers with influence in the organization.




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