Project managers are expected lead, engage, and empower their teams and stakeholders toward outcomes that deliver value to the organization and your customers. Defining a clear project vision and mission for the project gives direction and meaning to the team to deliver the project goals. This leads to greater accountability for the” why” and “how” of the project.

Establishing the mission and vision is key, whether you are executing a predictive or agile project or using a hybrid approach. Let’s define what’s in a vision and mission statement and how to craft one of your own.

Vision and Mission for Projects

  1. What is a Vision and Mission for Projects?
  2. Why is the Project Vision and Mission Important?
  3. Connecting Work and Achievement
  4. How Do You Create a Vision and Mission Statement?

What is a Vision and Mission for Projects?

Project Vision Statement – The Why Project Mission Statement – The What and The How
  • Communicates where the organization or customer want or need to be at the end of a project.
  • The vision helps state the expected benefits and the future state where the benefits will be realized.
  • Defines the problem we are trying to solve or the goal we wish to achieve. It includes the purpose, focus and the objectives for what we are trying to do.
  • The mission describes how the team will work to deliver the product, service, or result.  It focuses on the approach to achieve the objectives.

Why is the Project Vision and Mission Important?

The vision empowers the project team by answering “why.”  Team members are tired of just executing without a sense of the bigger picture.  They want to be a part of the solution, making a difference through their contributions.  Vision gives direction and meaning to the work.  It helps fosters growth and engagement in the effort.  It lends focus to the project and can lead to better ideas and fewer fire drills.

The mission confirms the benefits and value of the project. It answers the “what” and “how” question. The mission helps motivate your team to move forward, allowing each team member to own their work and decisions to support the common goal.  It provides the basis for performance metrics and evaluation. When the team understands the direction, it informs their analysis and decision-making. Mission also establishes a framework for work behaviors and responsibilities.

Connecting Work and Achievement

The communication of the project vision and mission is an ongoing part of the plan. The vision and mission need to be shared with project stakeholders. Regularly refer to them in meetings and other communications to maintain alignment and identify possible misunderstanding.  Link them to efforts, deliverables, and milestones through the project. Use them to inspire and motivate the team.

How Do You Create a Vision and Mission Statement for a Project?

Prepare the Team:

Set the stage by preparing them for what will happen and its value. The investment in the team’s knowledge inspires their commitment.

  • Define what the team will be doing, why and when?
  • Communicate how the vision and mission statements will be used.
  • What are known project objectives.
  • Prepare for resistance.
  • Understand the needs and of introverts and extroverts.

Create the Project Vision Statement:

Describe the desired future state of the project. It answers the “why” question. Your vision statement can be written out or it can be mapped out to give the team guidance and direction. Include the following key elements:

  • What are the final project goals? What are you trying to achieve through the project?
  • List examples in broad terms of what the future will look like. Ask what is the greater good you are trying to solve for? What is the need?
  • What are you organizing your efforts to change?
  • Imagine the risks if the project is unsuccessful.
  • Describe each example in terms of “I wish” or “Wouldn’t it be great if?”
  • Refine the statements that should stay in the vision.
  • Imagine it as reality and capture the data for strategy development.

Develop the Project Mission Statement:

Your vision needs a strategy! You need a summary of the purpose, the focus, and the aim that we are trying to achieve today. The mission statement answers the following:

  • What is the project?
  • Who are we doing this for?
  • What are the objectives?
  • What does it take to reach the objectives?

Review for the Mission for Changes:

The mission is likely to go through some changes during the project. Schedule a periodic evaluation informed by the following questions:

  • Do our efforts align with the vision and mission? (Are we off-track)
  • Do we still have a shared vision?
  • What have we learned?
  • What should be adjusted?

Learn More on this Topic

Developing a project vision and mission is a worthwhile exercise for project leaders.  Taking the time to do so can positively impact your team’s understanding of what you are trying to achieve and how the team will work to solve the need.  If you want to learn more about mission and vision, RMC offers a Strategic Business Management Best Practices eLearning course.  This course is worth a total of 33 PDUs (2 Technical, 4 Leadership and 27 Strategic).  We also cover this topic extensively in Rita’s PMP Exam Prep book which is a great project management reference guide

You can also listen to our webinar Empowering Your Project Team with Vision and Mission and earn 1 Free PDU.


Current PMP Exam Content Outline

Cate Curry
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