The elevator speech

I was challenged to write a “two minute elevator speech”. I suppose in the UK, it would be a “lift speech” but that doesn’t have the same ring about it. This is what I came up with:

Question: So, what’s all this project stuff about?

Short answer, when going up or down one floor:

Making sure the business moves towards its strategic intent, by continuing to change to meet emerging market, economic and technological change. Project management is how we direct and manage those changes.

Longer answer, when going up or down a number of floors:

No business can stand still. There are always new opportunities and problems to be solved. Projects are the vehicles for making change while at the same time making those changes will benefit the business. Not only that, they need to be achievable in terms of technology, company capability and the resources needed to do the work.

  • A project is a finite piece of work (it has a beginning and end), should be undertaken in stages, carried out within defined scope, cost and time constraints directed at achieving stated business objective and benefits.
  • The project sponsor is accountable for ensuring there is a real need, owning the business case and looking after the company’s business interests.
  • The project manager, supported by a team, manages the project on a day to day basis.


Although many projects may be similar, each is unique as differences may result from the deliverables required, stakeholders engaged, resources needed and location. Despite these differences, the way we direct and manage projects can be similar.

At the beginning, the need for a project is confirmed, stakeholders identified and, a solution to the opportunity or problem is defined together with a plan for “making it happen”.

When under way, the plan is monitored, controlled and progress towards the objectives is reported. Stakeholders are kept engaged. Key in controlling the project is agreeing any necessary changes to the plan or scope. Such changes often result from risks (what might go wrong) and issues (what has gone wrong).

At the end, a project is formally closed, verifying that what has been produced is fit for purpose and will lead to the required benefits being realised in practice.

As some projects are very complex and the solutions may not be apparent, they are undertaken in a number of stages, with each stage adding to the knowledge; the next stage is planned at the end of each stage and a check is done by the sponsor, at a gate, to make sure the project still makes business sense and the risks are acceptable.

A CHALLENGE:

How does this sound to you? Have you a better sound-bite you could propose? I think what I’ve written is still very “specialist” in tone.  Can you simplify this? The shorter, the better.