What are you trying to do?
Exactly... What are you trying to do? The first thing that I am conditioned to ask people when they ask me questions about a project or an initiative is "What are trying to do?" Why do I ask this? Because I have found most of the time that people really do not know what they are trying to do. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that people are stupid. However, I am saying that when it comes to a problem or a project that many times people really do not understand in their mind what they are trying to accomplish. It is very easy when faced with a problem or a difficult challenge to see only one small part of a much bigger issue. If you focus your efforts on fixing a small part or what you might see first, the bigger issue will continue to cause problems. I find that many dynamic organizations run into this problem because they are faced with many difficult situations. Because they are dynamic and innovative they are put in situations where they have to act quickly and many times reactionary. It is because of their quick instincts that the "What are you trying to do?" is often missed. This may sound elementary but, you will never consistently meet someone's expectations unless you know what their expectations are.
Here are my personal suggestions of how to identify "What are you trying to do?"
1) Ask questions and questions, and then ask more questions.
2) Talk to others. Never just focus on one persons perspective.
3) Look past the problem. Step back, play detective and see the big picture.
4) Write it down. As you are discovering more and more, build a detailed requirements document.
5) Have a change management plan. Plan for your success.
6) You must have this answer: "How will we know when we are successful?"
7) Don't get bogged down. Focus, stay aggressive and agile and don't let the details slow you down.
8) Finally. Prioritize... many times the project can become overwhelming, so be able to prioritize.