• Issue #33

Remembering the WHY of a Project

A field of Forget-me-not flowers bathed in morning light.

Remember the outcome

People are forgetful.

I was a Communication major in college, so you’d think I would remember this simple truth. And the thing is, time makes people more forgetful.

For example, when I think back on past work projects that have gone over schedule, there was usually a challenging conversation that had to happen to get things back on track. And every time I had one of those conversations, it almost always involved a question that was answered months ago. Somebody just forgot.

We need to do a better job reiterating the why of the project. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day strategy and execution, but it’s essential that we center our meetings and conversations around common goals.

During a website redesign project, clients tend to think about the deliverable as the goal, when in reality, the launched site is just a tool. Redesigning a university website “just because” isn’t a good reason to spend that money. You need that site to affect your outcomes.

You need new inquiries and applicants. You need better SEO placement. You need increased engagement. You need emotional responses. A new website is a thing—it’s not the outcome.

Reframing deliverables to be about results might be the key. Sure, you’ll get a new site, but the deliverable isn’t HTML, CSS, JavaScript, content docs, and Figma files. It’s that increase in conversion. It’s that jump in revenue. It’s that housing crunch you haven’t experienced in a while.

Think of it this way. When someone buys a vineyard, the goal isn’t to plant the vines so they can look at them. A lot of work goes into clearing the land, tilling the soil, analyzing the minerality and composition of the dirt, and choosing the right grape varietals.

When those vines are planted, the vintner doesn’t stop and relax. They know the job isn’t done. The vines, the fruit, and the land are a constant reminder of their goal — to harvest, press, ferment, age, and enjoy the (literal) fruits of their labor.

It’s the same with a new website or marketing campaign.

So let’s be more diligent in framing it that way. Because non-strategists tend to see the object as the result and forget about why the object is there in the first place.

On the flip side, the faster we get that object live and working, the less re-explaining needs to be done.

Because people are forgetful.

- Joel Goodman