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  • Writer's pictureElena Scaramellini

Envision your project

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

Are you working on a project or embarking on a new initiative?

Envisioning your project or venture from the onset is often a fundamental first step to take. And, it would help you identify what you would need to do to make it happen.

In general, we set out to start a project when there is a need to be met within a certain timeframe. A lot of attention is usually paid to what needs to be done by when. But, have you spent enough time envisioning what the end solution would look like?

Imagining the future state of what you are trying to achieve forms part of your "vision".

Sometimes, all you have at the onset of a project or new initiative is just an "idea", or a "vision", of what you would like to accomplish.

For those familiarised with the creation of a software using agile methodology, for example, defining a product vision is done during the first stage of an agile project.

This is because forming an idea on what the future solution would look like helps teams working on it understand what they would be trying to achieve. This "idea" is often documented in a product vision statement.

A vision statement is a one-sentence statement.

In the case of an agile project, a product vision statement would describe the overarching goal of the solution to be built and why it is needed. And it would, in most cases, be aligned to a venture’s or organisation’s core goals and values.

Vision and mission statements often go hand in hand.

While the vision statement broadly describes the future state, the mission statement defines how, at a high level, such vision would be met.

Let us take the example of an agile project set up to create a video conferencing tool.

In this case scenario, the conferencing tool is the product, and has the following vision and mission: "We want to be the "go to" platform that helps our customers communicate better and securely (vision) by creating a cutting edge audio and video collaboration tool that will allow people to interact with each other in real time and share content in a fast, secure, and reliable manner (mission)". The agreed success criteria would often follow these statements. For example: "We aim to reach 5,000 customers worldwide by the end of next year (success criteria)".

Like projects, many successful organisations and ventures have clear and strong vision and mission statements.

Let us take Spotify, the leading music streaming company, as an example.

Spotify’s vision reads:

“We envision a cultural platform where professional creators can break free of their medium’s constraints and where everyone can enjoy an immersive artistic experience that enables us to empathize with each other and to feel part of a greater whole.”

Spotify’s mission reads:

“Our mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.”

Meaningful vision and mission statements are powerful tools to motivate and inspire anyone directly or indirectly impacted.

Here is another example from Zoom, the successful communications technology company:

“Our vision: Video communications empowering people to accomplish more”

“Our mission: Make video communications frictionless and secure”.

"Our value: Care. Community, Customers, Company, Teammates, Selves".

"Our culture: Delivering happiness".

The above statements from Spotify and Zoom are very good examples of strong messages that help make an impact not only on their investors, employees and direct stakeholders but also on their customers and general audience across the globe.

It is important to note that because organisations and ventures may change their focus over time, they would need to keep their mission and vision up-to-date as they evolve. This would help them communicate a clear path ahead.

Projects, same as organisations, could benefit greatly from having well defined vision and mission statements from their onset.

If you were ever part of a project set up to introduce major changes in an organization, for example, you might have come across, or even helped put together, vision and mission statements on what the future state would look like and how it would be achieved.

Let us take the example of a corporate project to replace a few similar workflow management systems with one comprehensive “one-stop-shop” solution. In this case scenario, the systems are widely used by various teams across an organization to create, assign, and manage tasks.

A project of this nature would generally aim to simplify processes, avoid duplication and improve efficiency.

Although the benefits may sound great, this type of project could sometimes be quite complex to implement.

Complexity would often be driven by the changes being introduced as these might be significant. For example: replacing multiple systems would require thorough understanding of what they do so that the new solution covers all aspects needed, people who use these systems would need to learn new ways of doing things, and they may feel reluctant to change, among other challenges.

As a consequence, it may be difficult to align with all teams affected and get their buy-in.

One effective way to motivate everyone impacted would be to communicate the project vision and mission aligned with the core goals and values of the company. For example: “As an organization we aim to be innovative and open with simplicity and excellence at the core of what we do (organisational vision). We envision this project to deliver a new integrated one-stop-shop solution that is intuitive, collaborative and makes the way we work and communicate simpler, clearer and better (project vision and mission)”.

In general, if your team and stakeholders feel inspired by the objectives and benefits of your project, they would be more willing to cooperate and contribute to its success.

Envisioning your desirable outcome could help confirm both the project objectives and overall direction.

Ultimately, strong vision and mission statements can be very powerful communication tools to help you and your team stay focused to meet your goals.

Eventually, they could serve as your “north star” reminding everyone of the direction they should be going, and inspiring them along the journey.

Elena Scaramellini

Executive Trainer


Zoom’s vision and mission:

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