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So, you’ve been tasked with writing a project vision statement—and you’re dreading it. There’s a good chance you’re thinking, “Where do I start? I’m a technical person. I’m not creative and I can’t write inspirational things.”
Don’t worry. We’ll help you tap into your creativity—and that of your colleagues—to write a clear and inspiring project vision statement. You don’t have to go it alone. In fact, it’s a good idea to bring in others to help in the process.
And as much as you may dislike this activity, don’t make the mistake of underestimating its importance. Carve out time to give it the attention it deserves because every project needs inspiration and a guiding force to get it across the finish line successfully.
What Is a Project Vision Statement?
A project vision statement communicates the purpose and desired outcome of a project in an inspirational way. It is a clear summation of the project for team members and stakeholders alike. It helps to keep everyone rowing in the same direction—and is inspirational enough to keep them rowing when the waters get rough.
The project vision statement should be developed by the project manager, working with key team members and stakeholders. Getting their input throughout the process is not only helpful, but it will also help ensure their buy-in for the finished statement.
Why a Project Vision Statement Is Important.
A well-defined project vision statement rallies and focuses the team. Increasingly, workers like to know why they are doing something, and they can get more excited about a project if they see how it fits into a larger picture. An effective vision statement will be challenging in a way that inspires team members to stretch for the goal.
Project Vision Statement vs. Project Mission Statement.
While the project vision expresses the why of a project, the mission statement explains the who, what andhow.
Vision is sometimes described as the “tomorrow” of the project, and the mission is described as the “today.” What are the nuts-and-bolts activities that have to happen today to get us to the promised tomorrow?
We’ll take a look at examples specific to projects later in this article, but for now, it may be helpful to look at the vision and mission statements from several successful companies to get a feel for the difference.
While they are both inspirational in feel, the examples demonstrate a difference in specificity?
Vision: To significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible.
Mission: To make things universally accessible and useful, Google organizes the world’s information.
Vision: To make the best products on earth and to leave the world better than we found it.
Mission: To bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons, and consumers in over 140 countries around the world.
Vision Statement: To be the most successful and respected car company in America.
Mission Statement: To attract and attain customers with high-value products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America.
The vision statements are concise, yet aspirational. They provide a shared understanding of the end goal. In contrast, the mission statements talk about a specific course of action. They should be achievable, measurable, and relevant.
Bringing this concept back to project management, a project vision statement focuses on the overall desired outcome of the project. A project mission statement focuses on the specific purpose of the project.
What Are the Key Parts of a Project Vision Statement?
There are four elements of a good project vision statement: purpose, intended outcome, future benefits, and motivation.
- Overall Purpose: The project vision statement should state the reason for the project.
- Intended outcome: A project vision statement should describe what the project hopes to achieve in the future.
- Benefits: In what way will the future be better after the project is completed?
- Motivation & Inspiration: A project vision statement should also provide motivation for the project team and stakeholders throughout the project.
Project Vision Statement Template.
Oh, if only there was a template for vision statements! The problem is, there is no way to form a template for a short statement that changes with each project. Besides, writing a project vision statement is a creative process which doesn’t easily fit a template format.
How to Write a Project Vision Statement: Step-by-Step.
Since there is no template, you’ll have to start from scratch. The vision statement is typically written by the project manager in collaboration with some of the team members and key stakeholders.
In that case, a good way to get started is for the project manager to state the goals of the project and create a “seed sentence” that is sent to relevant participants for their input.
To get clarity on what your vision statement might include, think about why your product matters and be specific about how you’ll know when you’ve accomplished your goal.
Keep it simple. The easier it is to understand, the more likely it will be referred to and utilized.
The following steps will walk you through the process:
- Determine the purpose of the project. Start by looking at the project charter and consider the overall purpose of the project. Consider what problems the project is trying to solve and how it will benefit the intended audience or stakeholders.
- Determine the desired outcome. What outcome from the project will be considered a success? Again, look at the project charter and any other documents created during the initiation phase of the project such as a business case, feasibility study, etc.
- Consider the future benefits from the project. How will the future be better when the project is completed, and the desired outcome achieved? How will it benefit the intended stakeholders?
- Start writing. Don’t worry about writing the perfect statement on the first pass. It’s okay to have more than you need. Editing comes later. Right now, concentrate on capturing the vision for the project using words and phrases that feel inspirational. A good vision statement should motivational.
- Revise and shorten the project vision statement. Look over what you’ve written and delete any unnecessary or repetitive language. This can be one of the most difficult stages of the process, especially if you’ve captured some great thoughts. But remember, you’re not trying to include every detail here. Aim for one or two, concise sentences that capture the purpose, desired outcome, and post-project benefits of the project.
- Review and refine your vision statement. Now that you have a draft of your project vision statement, review it to ensure that it clear and succinct. Can you shorten a thought or find one word that can replace three? Think of this like sharpening the point a pencil. You want the tip as sharp as possible, but strong enough to perform under pressure.
- Share your vision statement with the entire team and stakeholders. Once you have a final, approved version of your vision statement, share it! You want to make sure the entire project team and all stakeholders are aligned. The project vision statement should be referred to frequently during the project to keep it at the forefront.
Sample Project Vision Statement.
Before you get started, review the sample statements below for writing inspiration.
- Our project will free small and medium business owners from the responsibilities of managing their tax documents and filing deadlines; allowing them to have more time to focus on their businesses.
- This project will build a green transportation system that operates at a lower cost, saving customers money while protecting the environment.
- We will develop a portable, non-invasive medical device that utilizes advanced imaging and machine learning algorithms to diagnose and monitor a range of conditions in real-time. This technology will improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and increase access to care.
- Our project will create a revolutionary, renewable energy storage system that utilizes advanced battery technology and solar panels to provide reliable, affordable energy for homes and businesses. This will make a significant contribution toward a more sustainable energy future.
Project Vision Statements Are Critical for Success.
Whether you enjoy delving into your creativity or not, you will need to make time to craft a compelling vision statement. It is the first step toward the completion of a successful project, and well worth the time it takes to do it right.Don’t hesitate to enlist help. This job should be a joint venture anyway, and it will make your life easier. You can’t skip this step, so you might as well s