AIM – Summary

Every project needs a single version of the truth to share with stakeholders. To explain what we’re doing and why. That way, there can be no straying from the truth.

This simple summary will ensure your project starts from a firm, well-documented foundation. And your Sponsor will agree to it.

The Project Summary Document

Don’t worry, you’re not flying solo quite yet. We’ve provided this handy template which you can use as your Project Summary Document.

This covers everything you need, including:

  • Background
  • Problem statement
  • Objectives
  • Deliverables
  • Budget/estimated costs
  • Critical success factors
  • Benefits
  • What’s in it for the end user?
  • People
  • Risks
  • Assumptions and dependencies
  • Issues

It might seem like a lot. However, if you’ve successfully completed your workshop, you should already have all the answers. It’s just putting it all in one, easy-to-read place.

Don’t believe me? Here’s what one Project Manager told us after going through the document:

“I’ve delivered a few bits and pieces in the past, but I’ve never gone through this process. It was groundbreaking. Important that the why and the workshop is done first and then project summary document is actually quite easy. It was a bit of time upfront, but now I have this, it means I can communicate clearly the same message to everyone involved. I’m doing another bit of change now and I wouldn’t do it any other way.”

The key learning is get the why clear and do the work up front.

Getting approval from your Sponsor

The best way to walk your Sponsor through this document is to book it with them in advance. It’s only when it’s written down in this template and it’s articulated simply and clearly that your Sponsor can make that decision to proceed.

Just a quick tip to book that meeting in as soon as you’ve got your hypothesis and the why from them. They’re generally quite busy people. You are relying on making sure that they get to have a look at this and so that you can get to the next stage.

The approval is then dead easy.

We’ve gone through the hypothesis. We have gone through the workshop. We’ve summarised it in the project summary document.

Now, it’s about playing this back to the Sponsor and getting them to approve what you’ve put in writing and what you and your team have uncovered in the workshop.

I’m sure that you’ll need to make some tweaks. Get the approval from them on the basis that you’ll make those after.

And if you’ve got your why right, then this should be a very simple conversation to have with your Sponsor. That’s the key point. Making sure that you’ve got that why right up front done at the very beginning.

That leads you nicely onto your approval to go to Build.

This approval from your sponsor is saying, “I’m happy with everything that you’ve put down there. Congratulations, you’ve got my approval and you can now go and build.”

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