Why Are We Here?

What is it

Why are we here is a list of the benefits and outcomes we hope to achieve by delivering the initiative.

Why do we need it

It helps the whole team understand the benefits and outcomes hoped to be achieved by the initiative they are about to undertake. It sets the purpose for the team and helps guide them to make decisions and prioritize the backlog.

Who uses it

Typically, the What Are We Here is crafted by the initial team tasked with delivering the project. This will likely include stakeholders, product owner and members of the initial delivery team.

How long will it take

Typically, it should only take a few minutes to agree an initial set of benefits / outcomes.

How do you do it

Discuss how the world will be better for delivering the initiative. There must be some real world positive outcomes that the initiative needs to deliver.

Think of inspirational and objective statements. Ideally 3-4 and prioritize them in order of greatest benefit / outcome.


  • Reduce the burden and cost of call centres
  • Improve customer retention by providing intuitive online services that allow them to control their details, payments and apply for additional services
  • Provide a game changing capability that with improve patient outcomes
  • Significantly reduce the cost of service, whilst improving both the performance and availability


  • Make sure you are getting to the root of the outcome (see 5 whys below)
  • Try to make them SMART
  • Make them imspirational, purpose is a massive driver for cognitive workers, see Dan Pink – Drive. Without purpose teams will fail to perform highly

Hints and Tip

  • Try the 5 whys approach; asking why up to 5 times to get to root benefit
  • Post it on the walls
  • Share it with new team members
  • Review it regularly, especially if you are likely to change direction


Implemented by