This is the seventh in a series of articles focused upon technology project management. The first five articles were about the importance of people as the foundation for any technology project. The last article introduced the topic of managing three broad domains of conversations: possibility, opportunity and fulfillment.
Conversations for possibility begin with people who are willing to be held accountable for producing results in the future. These people meet and begin with conversations about what the current state is and why and how the current state is working and not working. These conversations about the current state are documented facts that can be verified. For example, when the IT department begins planning a budget for the next fiscal year, it starts by reviewing what it spent this year based upon financial records using accepted accounting practices. Once there is agreement about the past and the present states, the conversations move to discussions about the future. People begin to meet regarding the coming new year and speculate about how much money will be available, what the business objectives will be and how the money could be spent. Effective conversations for possibility conclude with written consensus (commonly called a requirements document) about what the future might look like. This consensus may change during the opportunity conversations.
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