The 'fit for purpose' evaluation

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I saw a great presentation by Tom Peters, the American writer on business management practices. He produced a tiny shampoo bottle taken from a hotel bathroom and asked, rhetorically, ‘who was the average user of this bottle?’

Answer; most likely to be used by a middle-aged business traveller who wore reading glasses.

He then asked, ‘where was this likely to be used?’ Of course, when the traveller was taking a shower.

He paused for effect; ‘this product was most likely to be used by this guy in a shower without his reading glasses in a steamy environment with water running and when he wanted to decipher between the two almost identical bottles of shower gel and shampoo’.

A definition of ‘fit for purpose’ is ‘good enough to do the job it was designed to do’, but you could argue that the shampoo bottle, standing next to the shower gel bottle, is actually fit for purpose. The trouble is you need to distinguish it first for it truly to become ‘fit for purpose’.

In a project, all resources need to be fit for purpose for success. You need the right people with the right skills and actual project deliverables need to be ‘fit for purpose’ – the responsibility of the project manager.

The end result always needs to be considered in the context of the impact of utilising something or someone that is not ‘fit for purpose’.

Always be aware that such an approach can, in the end, make the deliverables so constrained that they fail the ‘fit for purpose’ evaluation.


Posted by Peter Taylor on 8th Jan 2015

About the Author
Peter Taylor is a PMO expert currently leading a Global PMO, with 200 project managers acting as custodians for nearly 5,000 projects around the world, for Kronos Inc. - a billion dollar software organisation delivering Workforce Management Solutions. Peter Taylor is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with many other books on project leadership, PMO development, project marketing, project challenges and executive sponsorship. In the last 4 years he has delivered over 200 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’. His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance. More information can be found at – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

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