Even in the best of times, work can be confusing. Efforts can be duplicated, messages mixed, and (wrong) assumptions made. Signals get crossed and, inevitably, something falls through the cracks.
When we’re adjusting to chaos, those challenges are amplified. Let’s face it, these recent days of working from home with new “coworkers” and in less-than-ideal settings can make everything feel difficult. It takes more coordination and communication to make sure good work happens. In short, it takes clarity.
We should seek clarity even when our projects and work world haven’t been turned upside down. Lack of clarity at any time often leads to confusion and, subsequently, disarray.
A call for clarity is baked into the ethos of project management. If a team has hopes of getting anything done, it needs project clarity.
This is one reason Reach Partners often gets asked to help companies and nonprofits. Untangling confusion isn’t any easier for us, but we have the experience and skills to resolve discord into an agreeable path.
We start by identifying the purpose or a project or initiative.
Clarifying purpose is not an easy step, especially when there are conflicting beliefs or contrary ideas within a group. It takes courage to admit we don’t know or understand. It takes courage to ask questions and not default to assumptions.
Yet the benefits of a clear purpose are immeasurable. It inspires confidence and rallies support.
To clarify purpose, start by gathering information from individuals, dialogue, surveys, workshops, and brainstorming sessions. By asking a group to define the project’s purpose, you can harness the strength of the community. Project managers rarely have all the information or expertise so tapping into the skills and knowledge of others is critical.
Ask or research the answers to questions: What problem will the project solve? Why now? Why this team/business? What is the end goal? How much detail is needed? Are others doing this? How does our project differ? What needs will this project address?
The answers will help you address these important elements of a purpose statement:
Clarifying purpose is a crucial step to ensuring your project doesn’t derail. Combine it with a clear deliverable and clarified roles, and you’ll be ready to tackle your next project – whether you’re working at home or not.