Many projects are born out of some “pain”. It might be lack of functionality or some other inefficiency. It could be the desire to automate cumbersome manual processes that can be improved. It might be the desire to upgrade the existing system in the organization, to renovate our apartment or replace our vehicle. And countless other examples that all present a need.
At the same time, the need alone does not indicate its necessity.
Proof of necessity is all about one key question: “Will the response to the need take us any closer to our goals?”
There are always many different needs and there will always be more of them. But the ability to transform a need to reality depends on the resources we have, and these will always be finite and limited.
Our means for execution will always fall short of our needs therefore, we must examine every need carefully and know how to let go of the investment in in needs that don’t currently advance us towards one of our goals. This of course requires that we have defined goals. These goals will serve as a first filter in examining our various needs. Any need that does not advance us toward our goals — directly or indirectly — is not necessary.
Even after we reduce our list of needs according to the criteria of necessity, we will still be left with a list of necessary needs that will be greater than our performance capacity. We will need to filter and prioritize this list according to various feasibility tests such as:
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- The level of risk involved in the project
- The level of complexity of the project
- Availability of resources at the time of the project
- The project’s contribution to reputation / market positioning
- And more …
A decision on the approval of the project must pass a test of necessity (suitability for the purposes) and others of feasibility in order to choose where to put our resources – both projects might be necessary but one is more feasible than the other. It is important to remember the first paradox in project management and the importance of making the right decision especially in conditions of uncertainty.