Start with User Perspectives

Before getting into the mechanics and elements of an in-system strategic plan, we need to break out who this system is for and how everyone will be using it. Too often systems are set up with one user in mind without considering others. This can slow adoption and, in the end, wastes resources.

Here are some examples of who should be considered users, what they might be looking for, and how they might interact with the system. Make sure to make your own list and ask your own people what they need before starting a project.

Internal Users

  • Individual - What does each team member need to know and do each day to complete their assigned work.
  • Core Team Member - What project documentation is relevant to me. How do I know what to do next and if I am on track with my work.
  • Extended Team Member - How are all the projects going. What is my part in each project and do I know when to get involved.
  • Steering Committee - What is my role in keeping this project moving forward? What input do I need to have and where should it go?
  • Project Manager - Are we tracking to the plan? What does the risk landscape look like right now?
  • Program Manager - How are these projects working together? How do risks and delays in one project affect the others?

External Users

  • Vendors - What do I need to know about the projects elements that I own? What do I have to do to keep the project on track?
  • Clients - How is my project going? What does the team need from me to keep the project on track?

This may seem like too much information for one system to handle, but think about you collected and distribute this information today? It is likely contained in power point decks, project schedules, spreadsheets, or a variety of independent systems that don’t talk to each other. How people know what to do is probably communicated in meetings, phone calls, messages, and emails. Replacing these tools with a collaborative system will not replace those meetings, communications, and project data, but it can combine them all in one place and provide context for them so that all users can see the projects from any angle and figure out what they need to do next.

Johnathan Deckert