Alignment of Vision: A Foundation for Project Execution

Donnie Neal

How many times have you participated in a project that can not seem to get out of its own way? Scope creep, politics, lack of communication, the wrong partner, or it is not clear why the project is so important? Many times this can be attributed to a lack of vision.

Vision
noun
1. the faculty or state of being able to see.
“she had defective vision”
2. the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
“the organization had lost its vision and direction”

Vision is critical to establishing a common baseline for determining goals, milestones, return on investment, and strategic direction for any project or company initiative. It can be very easy for a team running fast to meet a deadline to feel like there is no time to establish a well-defined vision for the project. As a result, it is common to see the project encounter delays due to a lack of alignment on the vision.

Think about it. If a person is walking around blind without his or her vision as a guide, that individual is going to potentially run into almost anything. This lack of vision could result in something as simple as a stubbed toe or potentially something far worse.

Vision in the business world comes in many layers. Vision must start at the top and permeate throughout the business informing organizational alignment, strategic objectives, development of culture, and core values. Which in turn inform the visions for projects, products, and platforms, like technology, that support and help achieved the greater company vision.

Company Vision

Company vision provides the foundation and principles by which all activities should be evaluated. This helps define the “WHY” for a company. (If you’re not familiar with Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle framework to identify your company’s “Why” I suggest checking out “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”). It is important to establish the “WHY” within the company vision as it will allow for meaningful conversations later regarding whether an activity supports that vision.

Project Vision

In alignment with the company vision, a supporting project vision would be set for individual campaigns, products, and customer service solutions. This is sometimes where the overall vision can begin to be lost. Politics, an individual’s own goals, or lack of discipline regarding the company vision can cause project visions to deviate. It’s important that the “WHY” for this product or solution matches the “WHY” and “WHO” of the companies vision.

Technology Vision

A third cog in the machine that can have a tremendous amount of impact on the alignment of company and solution vision is the technical vision of IT. Corporations can become riddled with legacy systems and rogue applications over time. Acquisitions, changes in strategy, changes in IT leadership, and lack of coordination across the enterprise in the initiation of new projects can all play a part in this. The struggle for any IT leadership is to harmonize their vision with the vision of the company and all of the organizations across the enterprise looking to meet the needs of their customers.

This becomes most apparent in the Salesforce world as companies rush to bring together key data and features into customer and agent facing solutions that provide dynamic user interactions harnessing the power of that combined data. Data is spread across the enterprise and features are implemented across disparate systems.

Gaining Alignment of Vision

We believe in aligning IT vision and solution vision back to the beginning and the company vision. By doing so, it creates a backstop for all decisions and strategy. By having this as the foundation for any project, it allows for a healthy project vision that can make it clear what the right decision is when deciding on features and scope.

Clear vision and leveraging the capabilities of tools like Salesforce to create the dynamic customer interactions along with tools like MuleSoft to pull together key data regardless of where it lives in the enterprise will help your organization be more efficient, cost-effective, and successful in timely delivery of your critical systems.

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision.”
Helen Keller

Want to learn how we’ve helped our clients align solutions with their IT and company visions? Let’s chat.