Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Whats your projects focus?

My diagram illustrates the focus in a project. The blue on the left hand side is the business and the red on the right is the techonolgy focus on a project. The focus on any technology project will go from somewhere on the left towards the right.

In the 'A' section focus is on the business processes. Its The Why of the project. This is where you have to justify the business processes. Are the business processes really business processes or are they in fact based on limitations in old systems. If there are any mayor improvements to the busines process, this is the place to discover them.

In the 'B' section business and technology are equally important. Its The How of the project. This is where you figure out the technical specifications for the project. There might be some adjustments to the business to make it feasible.

In 'C' its mostly about technology. Its The Where of the project. Here there is little you can do to the business. You just have to implement the stuff that has been decided.

A mistake I have seen on a lot of projects is that they focus on technology. They skip to "The How" or "The Where". They haven't realized that the real benefit from technology comes when you also change the way you operate and the way you think. The reason for skipping "The Why" is often that they claim its a technology project and they already know about their business. Some people are actually offended if you suggest improvements to the way they work. Its very sad to be on such a project.

Many projects I have worked on are based on contracts that include a lot of requirements. If they have not recieved guidance in making these requirements, they have missed out on a lot of possible proccess improvements. If your project is all in the C section the benefits from the project will be minimal, and the project will be more or less pointless.

My recommendation is to keep the focus as far to the left as human possible. Thats where the sweet honey is :)

The diagram can also be applied to technical documentation or books. They will and should start by outlining what it is all about. As you proceed through the text it will focus more and more on the technology. For me I find the first half of a technical book easier to read than the last half.


  1. I've tried to make a formula for your visualization. This is a formula I often use in projects where there are the slightest risk peeping out. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=sqrt%282%29x%3D1x^2

  2. Hi Jake. What is the x in your equation?