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Remember the old saying it’s “as clear as mud”? This comment is usually made out of confusion and frustration. In today’s complex IT world, clarity, and the ability to produce it, are the foundations of predictable success. It is such a simple concept, yet we take it for granted. Clarity can be tough to grasp and elusive to capture. Few systems have single points of failure today and just when you think you have a perfect understanding of the problem, you find out that you were looking in the wrong place.

Just to set the stage, clarity means that there is well defined understanding of an issue or a project. It means that the customer, the designer, coder, technician and all of the crucial players are aware, aligned and enrolled in solving the same problem. Clarity is important in not only the vision of what is to be accomplished, but also in the path of how to do it.

When faced with technology problems, ask the following questions of your team. They may sound simple, but they will help you solve problems faster and more efficiently ultimately making you more competitive.

“Why is this request or project a concern or need to be done?”
“How can we be a consultants and validate the needs as experts?”
“Who needs to be enrolled to contribute to the result?”
“What actually needs to be done, what is the work?”
“Where will it be done?”
“When does it need to be done? and What is driving the date?”
“How will success be defined so that we know we are done?”
“What is the budget in terms of time and money?”

The effort spent to determine the above elements will pay dividends all along the way.

Clarity, we have found, will produce the following outcomes that contribute to predictability:

  • Work results that meet or exceed expectations
  • Timelines that are met
  • Teams working as a team with laser focus
  • Financial surprises removed

So seek clarity at the most granular level possible. As you become an expert at creating clarity, muddy water will become a thing of the past.

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