Project Design and Management – Second in a Series, the Four Components

Components of Strategic Project Design

These are the four components of the Strategic Project Design

  • Vision – The overall context for the project; the answer to the question. “Why are we doing this?” or “What makes this worth doing?
  • Objective – A broad statement of the end result; the answer to the question, “What are we doing?”
  • Conditions of Satisfaction – Specific measurable conditions which must be met in order for the project be successful. The answer to the question, “How will we know the project is a success?”
  • Milestones – Specific, measurable results which must be achieved along the way to each Condition of Satisfaction. The answer to the question, “What interim results must we achieve, and by when, to realize each Conditions of Satisfaction?”

These components, when assembled, create the project plan.  A simple framework, and pretty easy to do.   But an important contextual piece is the future.  How do you think about that and use the future as a tool?  Here is the perspective I endorse.

The Future

As Charles Smith asserts in The Merlin Factor article – Leadership and Strategic Intent, “what you choose for your future is more important than what you know about your past or present capabilities”  The Merlin Factor is named for the magician of King Arthur’s court who was said to have been “born at the wrong end of time […and who lived] backward from in front. “Merlin’s actions were thus informed by a future that other people could not see.”

Smith writes that “[l]eaders who use the Merlin Factor, identifying themselves with a particular visionary future, likewise act on behalf of that future in the circumstances of the present.” It is this reverse temporality – starting with a future  and working back to the present – that is at the root of the Strategic Design process described here.

In the next few posts, I’ll go more into detail on how to work with the four components and the Merlin Factor.



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