Should You Start With Who Instead of Why?

Your next project failure may look something like this ….

Your next project failure may look something like this ….

Multi-department software initiatives are at least an order of magnitude more difficult than choosing software for your self.

Getting off on the right foot takes a little forethought. A common mistake happens right at the beginning, and it can be a huge source of issues throughout the lifetime of the project, and that is:

Who’s the Owner?


There are just a few common issues that projects can have which are associated with a project owner:

  • Collaborative. Is your owner committed to working across departments, which might have different needs than your own? Do they naturally keep in touch with critical project resources who are not in leadership roles?

  • Experienced. Has this person done this kind of thing before? If not, then are you starting them off on a smaller project to set them up for success? Do you know what project warning signs they are looking for?

  • Respected. Lack of engagement from all departments is a key source of project issues. Is your new leader trusted by all teams involved? Even if you as a project sponsor were convinced you were correct, would you see defer to this leader yourself?

  • Detailed. Projects often fail because leadership doesn’t sweat the details. Have you seen examples of the leader’s plans before? Can they critique not only what's there, but also what's missing? How do you know?

Let’s be real for a minute, we’ve all been in situations where even on an important project, there is no clear owner at all, never mind if they fit the criteria above?

Choosing the who

We often talk about the why of projects. But then management leaves the choice of who runs it to just anyone.

Remember: all successful projects look exactly the same, but all failed projects are unique snowflakes.

Who are you looking for?

businessRick Watson