The perfect way that projects will never be planned

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There is a profound difference between selling and planning a project—the order of these two phases matters.

Selling a project

A good presentation is critical when you want to sell a project or product. You want to pitch your solution to investors or internal managers. The presentation should be lively and memorable.

The best presentations present a simple and emotional story that has concrete details.
They must present something unexpected that invites the reader to continue the story in his head. “Jaws in space” was the memorable slogan that motivated Hollywood producers to fund the film, Alien.

Planning a project

When you want to plan a project properly, you best think of all the eventualities.

Think through every step as best as you can. Avoid planning every step in detail, but all the steps should be clear. Modern techniques to do so include the creation of a feature map.

Think of it as ascending a mountain. You do not precisely know the path or how long it will take you. Yet, you would be foolish not to have a map with you. And like with a good map, you would know in advance if you face obstacles and challenging trails at some point.

In your project, you should know the places of uncertainty as best as possible.

Sold projects are rarely declared a failure.

Usually, projects are first sold and then adequately planned. But now comes the surprise: it should be the other way around.

A project should be first planned and then sold. Why?

A sold project must be completed, no matter the potential risks.
People that sold the project are usually 100 % convinced by its success. They evaluate the project with an inside view. They are no longer open to a new perspective.

The key stakeholders are sold on their own perspective

Once the project starts, new people are hired and tasked with proper planning. They usually have experience with similar projects or tasks. Like engineers do in technical questions.

They can imagine what paths lead to a negative outcome by comparing specific milestones and tasks to their experience. Compared with the stakeholder’s perspective, this is called the outside view. Consultants perform a similar role.

As these people are tasked with planning the project, questioning basic assumptions is not part of the plan. Even if consultants were hired to do that, the outside view is rarely welcome. The

This psychological dilemma poses a challenge for companies and venture capital firms. They will fund winning entrepreneurs with unrealistic plans.

That is why projects would best be planned first and then sold. Unrealistic?