Have you been here before?
- The team has a project to provide some uncertain deliverable(s) to meet specific internal needs or the needs of a client.
- The team meets for the first time.
- Item #1 on the agenda is to clarify the objectives and desirable outcomes.
- Five minutes into the meeting, without ever exploring where the project needs to go, the team is weighing pros and cons of alternatives for how to get there.
Cliche time: The cart is before the horse. If you don’t know where you are going, it really doesn’t matter which road you take.
Read on as Elton Billings at Extractable shares his team’s experience with this phenomenon.
Conducting the Conductors
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to sit in a room of people who spend their lives proposing solutions and ask that they state only the desired outcomes? Every idea about what should happen was accompanied by a method for making it happen.
But to me, one very interesting side effect of the meeting was getting an amplified example of one of the major traps of web strategy: getting to the solution before fully stating the goals of the site.
There is a very strong desire to quickly get to the solution phase. Having a defined solution is much more comfortable than not having one. The issue is that defining a solution too quickly can miss the mark by not allowing time to explore all possible outcomes and really get important details about the goals of the site.
Action-oriented, smart people are often eager to develop and implement strategies to accomplish objectives. Folks like these are wonderful for teams and it is critical to steer their energies toward the right objectives.
I find it more valuable to have the team members actually identify the key objectives, as opposed to some else handing the team pre-defined outcomes. As I discuss here, when teams go through the process of thinking about what outcomes are desired, it helps ensure that the doing that follows is most effective.