A Way To Make Sure No One “Finds Out” Anything

You don’t ever want someone to find out something

Surprises happen.

However, professionals find ways to minimize the surprise on their end.  The easiest way to do that is to communicate early and often.

When I take on projects, I use this, the “client discussion framework,”  to keep clients, customers and bosses engaged and aware.

How to use this

Go through it step by step. Each step requires some communication. Don’t move on to the next step until you’ve answered each question you see. Use that as your tripwire.


You keep your client in the loop with these six steps of the process.


For a project to succeed, we must ask:

  • Who is this for?
  • What does success look like?
  • At what point do we stop/quit?
  • Are there any ways for these requirements to change?


So now that we know what the requirements are, what can we do to make things “pop”:

  • What is the worldview of our customer?
  • What is the context for this project?
  • Do constraints exist? Should we add them?
  • How do we “wow” knowing our constraints?


How are we going to execute the plan now that we have now:

  • Is there a particular framework we use to get this done?
  • What is the team?
  • Who helps us get this done?
  • What is our check-in schedule? What do we need there?


This is the work, where we test things and see:

  • What is our minimum viable product?
  • Do we have a test group of customers/stakeholders that we can show this to?


Let’s see if this is what we want:

  • Do we have the green light from stakeholders to put out the finished product
  • What changes would you like to see?
  • How much time do we have?What isn’t possible?


Now that it’s finalized, time to ship:

  • When can we do a post-mortem?

This isn’t a perfect model; sometimes these questions spring more questions. That’s a good thing, the more you know, the fewer people have to find out.

And the last thing you want is people finding out.

Happy projects, everyone!