Project Focus

Well begun is half done - It is our experience that it is essential for any project’s success to form a good, sharp mission statement from the beginning of the project.

Therefore, it makes sense to invest in creating a mutual understanding of why the project is meaningful, and how it should be carried out, when the project is starting up.

Here, the model challenges the project group's different understandings, so you can reach a shared agreement of the starting point for the project. The exercise is to describe the relationships in the project's problem statement, and with a well-described "problem tree" the group is ready to formulate project goals and objectives based on a clear and common understanding.


A project workshop is organized based on questions that can identify the problem area. The focusing of the project takes place in two parts: The first part identifies the problem assumptions the project group has, while the second part focuses on knowledge and change.

  1. What do we know in advance about the area - and what do we think the problem is?

  2. What do we think is the cause of the problem - and what we do not currently know that requires additional investigation?

  3. What is the consequence of the problem from our perspective - and from the user's perspective?

The project group discusses the three questions and writes answers on the post-its that will be placed on the problem tree. The answers - and connections - are discussed in the whole group.

If you are a large group, it might help to make “stations" for each question, so the groups physically move around and discuss each question separately. It also makes time management easier.

Make sure to write down themes, consensus, challenges and decisions – it can be on a flip-chart, so it is easy to carry out afterwards.


Print the template Problem Tree or Issue mapping

Print method text


You can also just use the problem tree template as a model and write the headlines on a flip chart or on post-its that are stuck to a wall.