I handed out the case study to all of those on the course and asked:
“How many of you get a case study which is as detailed as this one?”
Few people in the room put their hands up. Some said the brief they received was little more than a one liner given to them with the expectation they would deliver effectively.
I have loads of questions about this brief
This was a ¾ page long document and I asked the course to divide into groups and identify the key questions they should be asking to really understand the brief. These questions would then be used to write the PID (Project Charter). There was a real buzz in the group and they looked disappointed when I stopped them after 10 minutes. The group came up with 14 questions and all but 2 needed to be answered by the project sponsor.
I then asked the group what they had learned from this activity. They suggested:
- a brief needs to be very detailed to be meaningful
- several suggested that the project briefs they received lacked any meaningful detail
- the sponsor should be aware they will receive questions from the project manager or team around the brief or produce more effective project briefs
- questioning techniques need to be developed to get to the real nub of the brief
- sponsors expected a business case to be developed very quickly once the brief has been given However it was pointed out that often there is insufficient detail to deliver an effective business case
- developing the questions was seen as a good tem bonding/development exercise
Years ago, I did a briefing exercise for a client and it showed how poor their skills were in this area.
Time for a revisit is my view.