Define Success

An essential activity of the Plan Phase is to clearly define the expected business outcome the project team must deliver and to ensure all stakeholders have a shared understanding of desired outcomes. The step-by-step guide below, outlines how to achieve this goal. As a note, these activities are best performed by bringing the entire team together and defining the goals in collaborative sessions.

Step 1: Identify Stakeholders

The first step is to ensure the right stakeholders are identified and are part of the project team. If there are critical stakeholders who are not engaged during the project, their needs could be missed or identified late in the project causing schedule delays. Once identified, it is important to note the role that each will play and how they carry out that particular role.

Use the following questions to identify all potential stakeholders:

  • Which specific stakeholders (end users, change management champions, product owner, sponsors, etc.) need to provide final sign-off before release?
  • Who has provided funding for the application?
  • Who will test the system and validate that the requirements have been met?
  • Are there systems that the application will need to connect with? How will we connect?
  • Are there enterprise governance processes or standards (from information security, legal, compliance, project management office, etc.) which must be met before go-live?  
  • Who will support the application once it is live?
  • Who are the end users of the system?

Step 2: Define Goals

Next identify the business outcomes the project is expected to deliver. The business value of Appian solutions typically fall into the following categories: reduce costs, reduce risk, improve customer experience, or enable new products or services. Ask the business sponsor to present the project goals and ensure all stakeholders have a shared understanding of these objectives. Next identify measures that can be used to verify the goals have been met. Finally, identify the expected delivery date(s) or other important milestones that need to be considered during planning.

 Key Insights: Clarifying business goals and establishing precise measures

Establishing precise measures for the business goals of a project is important not only to calculate the project’s return on investment, but also as a way to clarify the expected outcome to the entire project team. Precise measures reduce room for misinterpretation and allow the project team to effectively prioritize the scope which has a direct impact on the project’s goals.


Step 3: Communicate the Vision  

Finally, it’s critical to ensure everyone is on the same page. The best way to do this is to develop a project charter together in a collaborative session. This allows different perspectives to be explored and ensures there is collective buy-in to final decisions. After this session, it is still important to document outcomes in a project charter that should be distributed to the extended team.

The charter should be a lightweight artifact and include at least the following:

  • Project Vision Statement - 1 or 2 sentence summary of the project’s intended impact
  • Timeframe - the expected release date or critical milestones
  • Project Goals - why the project is being implemented
  • Measures - metrics that can be used to verify the goals have been met


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