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Aim – Intro
Mark Pratt

The A of ABCDE – Aim

Whilst the entire ABCDE way is important, if you only do one thing, complete Aim.

We want to help you be clear why you’re embarking on this change. Doing a bit more work to start will set you up for success.

In Aim we start to get into the nuts and bolts of the ABCDE method.

You discover what can happen if you just ‘put change in’ without some up-front prep. It ‘might’ work but why leave it to chance?  As with most things in life, some preparation is the key difference between success and failure. And if you’re reading this, then you’ll want to deliver change successfully.

One of the most important preparation steps is finding your ‘why’.

Once you’ve got the ‘why’ nailed, you need to get the right people together to work out:

  • How you’ll deliver your change
  • What you’ll need
  • How long it will take
  • What might come along and stop your change.

We’ll provide you with some tools and templates to record all this important, early preparation, which helps underpin the project from start to finish.

Stage 1 – Hypothesis

Fancy word isn’t it? That’s probably as fancy as we get but we make no apologies for it, because it’s very, very important and can be quite tricky to nail.

There are some key questions to get this clear and turn your Sponsor’s ‘idea’ into something really meaningful.

This hypothesis will be your guiding light throughout the project and to keep you, your Sponsor and the Project Team on track.

Ideas for change might be good, but how can you be sure, how will you know?

With a fully formed hypothesis, that’s how.

You need to test your idea for change and get some confidence in it, before you take a leap of faith and commit your precious time and money.

At the end of the Hypothesis stage you will:

  • Be clear on how your idea will help
  • Understand what it will achieve
  • Understand who it will be for
  • Know if you get there
  • Make sure your ‘idea’ is tangible

Most importantly, you will test your idea first so you can turn your ambitions into reality.

Stage 2 – Workshop

Now you’re super clear on your why and you’ve got permission to proceed.

How do you turn that idea in to a practical plan?  
It’s a team effort. 

Without knowing what the first steps are, there’s a risk you won’t be able to move your idea forward or that you won’t have at least a rough idea of the order of events and how long things will take.

You’ll prepare and run a session where you get everyone together to create a high-level project plan.

It’s also a great opportunity for people to get to know each other a bit better and hear from the sponsor, in their words, why this project needs doing and the difference it’ll make.

You’ll break the project down into smaller chunks and agree the sensible order of delivery and estimate how long things will take. Real-life examples bring it to life for you, to help you deal with changes in your plan and how to really manage risks. Whether your deadline is fixed or perhaps your Sponsor is asking you to commit to a timescale, our ABCDE way will help you think things through. We’ll introduce the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) which might help you gain the benefit of some value or help the Sponsor achieve their way in a phased way.

Stage 3 – Summarise

Here at Project Partners, we know that a just right ‘Goldilocks’ amount of control is really helpful and will be a useful tool in delivering your project.

In ‘Summarise’ we ask you to play back your efforts and summarise:

  • the key deliverables
  • timescales
  • who’ll help you get this stuff done

A lot can happen in a workshop so after all your work, it’s important you write it down whilst it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind and get it signed off by your team.

The summary will structure the delivery of your project. It’ll be what you refer back to for your critical success factors (more into those later) and to keep you honest throughout.

And they’ll really help to get commitment to delivering this thing before you move on to the B, Build.

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