The purpose of a Project Definition Worksheet is to define the fundamental problem that you need to solve and the important considerations for how you will solve it. The framework includes a set of questions that need to be answered and inputs that need to be provided before you can responsibly start your work. The Project Definition Worksheet is helpful in your earliest conversations with clients and stakeholders to ensure that you are literally and figuratively on the same page. Once completed, it is an excellent alignment tool that you can return to throughout your project to ensure that you are not veering off course.
What problem do we need to solve, and what do we need to know when solving it?
- Work down the framework, and start by describing the Situation and Challenge. What factors are causing the current situation to be unacceptable? What needs to happen to make the future state acceptable?
- Write a single Key Question that, when answered, will address your challenge. What is the fundamental problem that you are trying to solve? Be as clear and specific as possible to focus your team.
- Capture your Success Criteria as the ultimate outcome you aim to achieve. Include targets that are measurable, if possible. You may also include client or stakeholder expectations, if relevant.
- Provide guidance for tackling the problem by providing In-Scope Constraints and Out-of-Scope items. Consider factors like available resources, upcoming milestones, parallel initiatives, and relevant regulations.
- Finally, identify any other items that the team should know about when tackling the problem. What is not captured on the Worksheet that might help? Include these as Considerations in the final row.
- This framework can be used for intake discussions, to triage marketing requests before work is started.
- Do not confuse this for a formal marketing brief, as more details are required to start any creative work.
- Do not assume that marketing is always the best or only way to achieve this mission and make change happen.