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Because I’m a consultant, I receive emails with a question, “Do you consult in <fill in this blank>?” Many times I do. But the real question is. “What is your objective?” or “Why do you want to do <this thing>?”

There are many good reasons to do so. Release some product—any product, for example! Go faster. Make people’s lives better, either the customers or the project team or the senior managers or all of the above. Satisfy the auditors. Increase the number of customers. Reduce the number of complaints. All of these are good reasons.

But if you don’t have any reasons, you have no measurement by which we can measure success. And if you have no success criteria, we can’t have a successful project. Even if this is “only” a consulting project.

Every project needs to have a vision and know what success means. That’s the reason why. So, if you ask me if I do something, I’m going to ask you why you want to know. Because I might know of a better way to accomplish your goal. Or, I might know of a better consultant. Or, I might be perfect for you. But, I do have to know what success means for you. Because the project starts from the very first moment we start to talk. And, I want it to be successful. And, you do too.

That’s why I’m going to ask you a question such as, “tell me your objective,” or “why do you want to …”, so I can judge if I can be your consultant. It’s a good way to start projects, too.

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Published at DZone with permission of Johanna Rothman, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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