Five questions to ask before starting a project

We all want to do things with excellence–in our work, in our relationships, in life. I don’t think any of us is really interested in getting by with the minimum of effort and the minimum return. We may be doing it, but if that’s the case I’m also pretty sure that somewhere deep inside we feel pretty bad about it and would like to change.


In his book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Michael Hyatt gives five questions that each of us should ask as we start a project or evaluate an on-going project.

As I thought about these questions, it occurred to me that these questions are helpful for a number of different parts of life–home, work, church. In other words, answering these questions honestly will help us reframe our life and work in a way that will provide greater clarity for us and enrich those around us.

When you’re evaluating a project, ask these questions (p.13):

1. What is the product or experience I want to create or transform into a wow?
2. How will the customer or prospect feel as a result of this experience? (i.e., outcome)
3. What specific expectations does the typical customer bring to this experience?
4. What does failing to meet customers’ expectations for this experience look like?
5. What does exceeding customers’ expectations for this experience look like?

Hyatt gives the concrete example of an client waiting in the reception area of an office building. This is a very tangible experience of first impressions–investing in this experience could pay large dividends in good will toward the company, and make someone’s day rather than ruin it.

Like most things, working effectively and strategically is the product of focus and a good deal of intention. Asking these questions is a good place to start in improving a project your currently involved in or as you contemplate starting a new initiative.

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