Like all the tools our group has developed to assist project managers, stakeholders and teams , it is both simple and sexy.
We based this tool on the concept of a lightswitch with a dimmer slider. During the RAP session, each stakeholder determines which of the success criteria is either on or off (see Figure 7.2). If the success slider is on for that stakeholder, then there can be a graduation from dim to bright. If a slider is totally on, there is no room for compromise. If the slider is partially on, the stakeholder is saying that there is considerable room to move in meeting that criterion.
Figure 7.2. Success sliders
If a slider is off, it indicates that that criterion is not significant as a measure of success. For example, if budget is off, it means that the stakeholder is prepared to sacrifice the budget for other more important factors. It is important to note that the budget is still tracked and measured. Everything is negotiable.
By now, it should be pretty clear to you that the chances of 10 different stakeholders agreeing on how to define success for the same project are slim. This is where the project sponsor starts to earn his or her money. As we'll discuss in Part 3, the sponsor has the right to unilaterally override the project stakeholders.
What you have to do is to document the disagreements and then let the sponsor decide where the sliders should be set.
What is really important is that you have a simple, nontechnical tool to begin the process of negotiating with the stakeholders. More significantly, it is the stakeholders who decide, not you. Even if the sponsor overrides their views, they will know that you are simply providing a mechanism for this to happen.
Don't Panic! It Is Meant to Be Subjective
Some of you may be feeling that the sliders are not precise and quantified . This is the very power of this tool. It has been designed to get a feel for the stakeholders' expectations. We have used this tool on hundreds of projects and it has never failed. The precision and measures are added as you proceed to the other tools in the RAP session. We have more on the power of the sliders in Chapter 23, "The Success Sliders Redux."
Welcome to eXtreme project management.