Mikey’s Pretty Good Project-Definition Worksheet

Problem Statement

What is the problem (or puzzle) to be solved?

How does not solving this problem get in the way of achieving the organization’s objectives?

What value does the organization gain from solving this problem?

What is the chronology of the situation – how did we get here?

Are there trends at work – social, industry, financial, economic?

Is this a ‘solution’ that has turned into a problem – if so, what is the original problem that this solution-turned-problem was supposed to solve?

What alternatives to doing this project have we explored?


Who will be affected by the problem?

  •     Which employees?
  •     Stakeholders?
  •     Customers?
  •     Others?

Have they been involved sufficiently up to this point?

Should they be brought in to the project?  When?

To what degree do they share the belief that this is a problem that needs to be solved?

Who ought to ‘champion’ this project?

To whom should the project team report?

Do we need a Steering Committee to provide resources and resolve disputes?

Has a project leader been selected yet?

Scope, Size and Perspective

What written definition clearly distinguishes between what is inside this project, and what is outside?

What is the level of detail and precision involved in this effort – is this a sweeping global effort (like a vision or strategy) or is this a project to produce specific outcomes (like install a system, or build a house)?

Goals & Objectives

What tangible, deliverable things do we want to see when this project is completed?

How will this project;

  •     Increase revenue
  •     Reduce costs
  •     Increase quality
  •     Make us more nimble

How do we know when the project is done?

Critical Success Factors

What things do we need to do well in order for this project to succeed?

What are the attributes of projects like this that have succeeded in the past?

Describe some projects of this type that have failed.

Do we have any doubts about our ability to do this project?  Are we doomed before we start?

What can we do to avoid those problems this time?

Should we do this project at all, or should we kill this one right now?

Preferred Problem-Solving Approach

Who will do what tasks, with whom, by what date?

What are the intermediate milestone events and deliverables that we can use as checkpoints to monitor the progress of the project?

Are they more than 1 or 2 weeks apart?

Do we need more (or fewer) tasks and milestones to keep the project under a reasonable level of control?

Who is responsible for monitoring progress?

What’s the mechanism for getting things back on track if the project is missing key dates?

Do we have a project organization chart with roles and responsibilities defined for;

  •     the project team members,
  •     the project leader,
  •     the steering committee,
  •     any advisory groups that need to be formed?


How dissatisfied are people with the current state of affairs?

How clear is the vision?

Do people think this project needs to happen?

Do people have the tools and training they require in order to perform their role in the project team?

What do people in the organization need to do in order to “get ready”?

Does the project team need some time to establish how they are going to work together, or have they succeeded as a group before?

If they need “get ready” time and resources, are they in the budget?

Does the project have an appropriate sponsor, who’s really committed to seeing the project through?

Resource Requirements

What do we estimate this project to take?  Examples include;

  •     people
  •     time
  •     money
  •     access-to-decision-makers
  •     technology
  •     space

How well do people understand the resources required to solve the problem?

Are those resources available, or do we need to redirect from somewhere else?

Is there wide support, and willingness to commit the resource, across the whole organization?

Do people think the change is worth the investment?

What are the organizational impacts (how broad, how deep)?