Five Golden Project Questions

Had the recent inspiration of esteemed colleagues, discussing catalytic questions in the design of leadership development programs. The final questions may come in handy for almost any kind of project and fits nicely with the 3P project template (purpose, process and product) from the Unplugged-book:

1. Which specific demands* have we met in 6 months?
– identifying underlying justification, motivation and purpose

*Yes, “demands”, not “goals”. Demands drive goals; not the other way around. Investigating  the demands focuses the essential externacity, the outside-in. As a team, a department or a whole organization, we may conveniently agree on “our goals” without considering who we are truly doing this for? Rather we must discuss demands; our colleagues’, clients’ or customers’. It is their demand and thus we have to emphatically consider their needs before anything else.

2. What are we most proud of around here?
– acknowledging no-compromise areas, existing culture and values
=> core values, beliefs and systems

3. When done well, what has specifically changed?
– identifying measurable evidence, i.e. the product
=> critical performance variables, diagnostic control systems

4. Who and what are the biggest influences along the way?
– identifying grey zones to allow for an early adjustments process
=> strategic uncertainties, interactive control systems

5. What is decidedly not part of the project?
– identifying borders and out-of-scope limitations
=> risks to be avoided, boundary systems

Does this look familiar? It may; the last four questions are designed around the four Quadrants of Robert Simons’ “Levers of Control”, available at Consider “looking inside” the book and flip forward to Figure 1.2 on page 7…

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