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We will touch on ownership, roles and responsibilities, resources, empowerment and much more that you may not normally associate with assessing a project. But these are important statements about the project. Now is the time to make these decisions, not later on when the project is underway and the real money is being spent. It will not take long to go through this; there are not too many statements. In the process of assessing the statements we are try to find if the project environment is right of your project and assessing project readiness.

We suggest you go through the statements firstly yourself to make sure they are pertinent to your organisation; also to make sure you are not using terminology that is inappropriate, incorrect or alien to your project stakeholders. The reason for this is that the Declaration will be presented to your project stakeholders and they will need to understand the statements before giving their responses. You may elect to do this in either a workshop environment or on a one to one basis. Either way you choose to do this you do not want to spend the first hour explaining the statements, the terms and the syntax before you get any useful output.

By all means change the nouns and the verbs to fit your establishment but bear in mind you want to maintain the semantics, the fundamental thrust, of what we are trying to achieve: your assessment of the suitability of this organisation to deliver this type of project.

The Readiness Declaration is communicated using a simple spreadsheet. Again, we use the most fit for purpose solution even though we do not actually think the phrase most fit for purpose is really a valid term in English. Any road up, we need four columns and fourteen rows and basically a spreadsheet does this for free and when you demand a simple solution, free always sounds really good value for money.

The first column contains the text of the Readiness Declaration statement and there are a further three columns. One is for the Readiness Response and the next is for Engagement Commitment Owner. The final column holds the terms (the criteria) for Disengagement for the Commitment. We describe the detail of the columns in the section on engagement.

You collect the results of the Declaration from the project stakeholders and evaluate them. Each statement can be responded to or left blank. If a statement is left blank you can deduce an inference from that. If it is because the person does not understand the statement then you can explore and explain it. This is simpler to do in one-to-one interviews because, when it is done in a workshop environment, it holds up progress for the other attendees.

If you deliver the Readiness Declaration in a one to one session or interview, read out the statement and collect the Readiness Response. Doing it this way means you can answer queries and explain the statements further. But this approach takes a bit of time and effort. If you have a number of stakeholders and this is normal, then you are likely to expend quite some resource satisfying the Readiness Declaration in this way.

You need the stakeholders to respond to the statements accurately and with good intention. In our view one to one interviews are much more successful in this regard. However, if time or cost pressures dictate that you need to perform this activity inside a workshop then you will consider this option.

However also consider the influences other workshop attendees will have on stakeholder responses. There will be managerial influences, group forces and peer pressures to consider. Truly representative responses are difficult to achieve but worth the effort to get close. In a question and answer session inside a workshop, almost certainly a show of hands never delivers an accurate outcome. Participants who are asked to use such group based response are invariably influenced by the decision of, or by the seniority of, other early responders and colleagues.

For more information on this topic and if you are interested to explore further into this subject and who would blame you, there is not much to distract you on TV, see articles on Group Influences on Individuals in Organisations.


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