“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” – Denis Waitley
On the Microsoft patterns & practices team, we use Vision / Scope as a key milestone for project success.
It’s where we frame the problem, identify the business opportunity, and paint a vision of the solution.
It’s a forcing function to get clarity on the customer, their scenarios, and our scope for the project.
We generally use a “fix time, flex scope” pattern, so this means having a candidate backlog that we prioritize with customers.
On the execution side, we expect to know the team, key partners, the budget, the schedule, and the deliverables.
We also need to know the risks and their mitigations.
The Vision Scope is About Selling the Vision for Project Success
At the Vision / Scope, the real key is first selling people on the vision, and then selling them on the execution.
It’s basically about answering, “why?” should we go do this, and “why now?.” This can be either about reducing pain or exploiting an opportunity.
It’s also about answering these questions in the context of trade-offs.
When you can tell a compelling story from problem to solution, and how you’ll get their incrementally with a team people trust, you dramatically increase your odds of getting a “Go” decision, and the support you need.
Vision / Scope Baseline Structure
This is my rough sketch of the key pieces I need in my Vision / Scope presentations for success:
|Vision / Scope||
Vision / Scope Structure Examples
Here are some examples of how I structured my Vision / Scope slides over the years:
If you can master the Vision / Scope approach, you will have a big advantage over those who start projects without creating real clarity around what project success will look like.
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