Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why bother with mission statements?

If you're a one-man-band, regardless of whether there are others in the organization or not, then mission statements are so much hot air and a waste of time. But if you're prepared to lead followers who are willing to be led then a mission statement can prove vital to get everyone on the same page with a shared understanding.

I often say that project management, at any level, is at heart as simple as going to the grocery store:

  1. First, you need to know why you're going. That's where mission statements come in. And the reason for the journey has got to outweigh both the cost of travel and the benefit of staying put. Like going to get provisions for breakfast so you won't be hungry in the morning.
  2. Second, you need to know what you're going to do. For example, the objective is to get milk.
  3. Next, where are you going? (Better than GPS, this is a certain shelf on a cabinet in the store...) And where are you going from?
  4. Only then can you plot the route for how you're going to get from A to B.
  5. Choices of route and 'transport' determine the skill-set of who is needed.
  6. Finally, people come with calendars that dictate when this can all be accomplished.
So, that's it! Project management in six simple questions. The important things to note are
  • Make sure you ask - and completely answer - the questions in that order
  • Next, remember that the why and the what do not, ever, change during the life of the project. But the how, who and when probably will - and what, the objectives, can be modified with care!
For more on crafting mission statements read
 Inc. Magazine 
Here's how to craft the perfect mission statement for your company.

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