I was recently on a panel of ‘experts’ at a project management conference (yes I know, why was I there…) and there was a great question from the audience about project quality.

After listening to some of the real experts on the panel I contributed something from my past experience and that was ‘visibility of purpose’.

When I regularly ran reviews of projects we, the PMO, were able to identify common issues that challenged our projects and one of these occurred on the larger projects that we were involved in.

To understand then a little about the landscape of the project work we were involved in is required. On a large complex project (or program) there would be many parties involved, ourselves as suppliers, our sub-contractors and third party partners. Then there would be the customer, the customers other suppliers, system integrators, consultants, contractors and many more. So what we always ended up with was a lot of people and therefore a lot of complicated communication as a result.

Now in the early days of the project, the acquisition period, it was typically a small team that worked closely with the customer and, all being well, would secure the business and therefore the project. There was then a kick off with all of the normal items on the agenda and from that point the project team would ‘ramp up’ i.e. get bigger over a period of time, and new people would join as time progressed.

Now to the point. We discovered that in a number of cases as we assessed the ‘health’ of the project a lot of the team members no longer (if in fact they had ever in the first place) understood what the project was aiming to deliver, up there, at the top or front end, at the business level.

So think of a coder at an offshore sub-contractor. Do they envisage for example that some small piece of code that they are writing to complete a piece of data transfer for us, and therefore our customer, will contribute to a project that is targeted as reducing waiting lists in hospitals in the public sector. It is just an example but the point is that you would probably move through quite a few layers of the project structure before the project deliverables are directly associated with ‘people’ and in some way all project deliverables are about ‘people’.

So the key is to try and ensure that ‘visibility of purpose’ is always at the forefront of every team members thought, no matter what their role is, in order to keep the project focused on quality. Make it personal.

[ribbon]Author Bio:[/ribbon]Speaker, Author, Trainer, Coach and Consultant

Peter is a dynamic and commercially astute professional who has achieved notable success in business. His background is in project management and marketing across three major business areas over the last 28 years and with the last 8 years building and leading PMOs. He is an accomplished communicator, a professional speaker, workshop trainer and PM/PMO consultant.

Peter is the author of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, The Lazy Winner’ and ‘The Lazy Project Manager and the Project from Hell’ (Infinite Ideas), as well as ‘Leading Successful PMOs’ (Gower).