In a Qvest your stakeholders ask each other questions about topics that matter to them. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask any questions. In fact, you should never start a Qvest without asking yourself what you want to accomplish by using Qvest.  

There are three typical reasons for kicking off a Qvest. You either want your stakeholders to:

  • Join forces
  • Work smarter, or
  • Solve a problem

You can, of course, have other reasons, and sometimes you even want to combine reasons. But when you're picking and framing your Qvest, I recommend that you pick one main reason.

Joining forces

When your main reason for using Qvest is to get your stakeholders to join forces, you need a project-specific topic like "Our [project name] journey" or "[Strategy name] roll out" or "The impact of [project initiative] in our department". 

To run a successful Qvest, you need: 1) a purpose, and 2) a group of people who share your purpose. When you're kicking off a Qvest to make your stakeholders join forces, you should focus all your topic communication on making the purpose feel important to the participants.

Your stakeholders are more likely to ask and answer questions if they trust it will make a difference. So when you pick and frame your topic you should make it clear that you are using Qvest to make sure that everybody gets a say in how the project proceeds. Quick note: Of course you should never promise people that they have an impact on something unless they actually do.

In short, when you use Qvest to make your stakeholders join forces, you should pick a topic that makes your project feel important to your stakeholders, and frame it in a way that makes your stakeholders feel that they are important to the project.

Check if you're ready to kick off your Qvest

You're ready to use Qvest to make your stakeholders join forces when you feel confident in saying and writing something like this on your Qvest page:

"I'm kicking off this Qvest because [topic] is important to [project/department/company name] in [this and this] way. And I'm asking you to join the Qvest, because your [insight/experience/know-how] is essential to our success."

Video tip: Tape a few words from the one person who will make the participants feel special and selected for an important mission.

See a case with a project-specific topic and framing from a Qvest user at the bottom of this article.

Working smarter

When your main reason for using Qvest is to get your stakeholders to work smarter, you need an agenda-specific topic like "Adjusting our H&S organisation to the new company structure" or "Activity coordination in light of the new global IT organisation" or "Priorities when developing our new talent program".

To run a successful Qvest, you always need: 1) a purpose, and 2) a group of people who share your purpose. But when you want your stakeholders to work smarter, you should focus more on the people sharing your purpose than on the purpose itself.

That is, instead of making the purpose feel important, you need to prove that you "get" your stakeholders and their way of thinking and talking about the project.

Your stakeholders don't want to waste their time on something that doesn't feel relevant to them. So when you pick and frame your topic you should make it easy for your participants to recognize themselves and their everyday tasks in the project.

One way to do that is to make sure that you use the same words about the Qvest topic as your stakeholders would use. For example, instead of 'strategy', you might want to use 'priorities' or 'contributions'.

Another way is to make your stakeholders feel like they are all part of the same team. Your stakeholders are more likely to exchange questions and answers if they think of each other as people who care about the same things they do. 

In short, when you use Qvest to make your stakeholders work smarter, you should pick a topic that's familiar to your stakeholders, and frame it in a way that makes your stakeholders believe that by joining this Qvest they will make things easier for themselves and for the people they care about. 

Check if you're ready to kick off your Qvest

You're ready to use Qvest to make your stakeholders work smarter when you feel confident in saying and writing something like this on your Qvest page:

"I'm kicking off this Qvest because your [insight/experience/know-how] is essential when [preparing/executing/improving] what we all need to be focusing on right now, namely: [topic]"

Video tip: Show the participants that they can trust you to be on the same mission and on the same page as them.

Solving a problem

When your main reason for using Qvest is to get your stakeholders to solve a problem, you need a problem-specific topic like "Getting a job in [city name]" or "Making remote work work in [department name]".

As always, you can't run a successful Qvest without having, 1) a purpose, and 2) a group of people who share your purpose. And when you're kicking off a Qvest to make your stakeholders solve a problem, you actually need to focus equally on your purpose and your stakeholders.  

Your stakeholders are more likely to ask and answer questions about a topic that has direct impact on their daily lives. So when you pick and frame your topic, you should make sure that it feels like a problem that your stakeholders are already trying to solve. 

The biggest pitfall when picking and framing a problem-specific topic is that the problem ends up looking like something only you would care about. So before you pick your topic and write your motivational text, I recommend that you spend some time writing down all you know about how your stakeholders perceive and talk about their problems in relation to the problem you want them to solve.

In short, when you use Qvest to make your stakeholders solve a problem, you should pick a topic that directly affects  your stakeholders, and frame it in a way that makes them feel like finally someone recognizes the issue and offers to help them solve their problems.

Check if you're ready to kick off your Qvest

You're ready to use Qvest to make your stakeholders solve a problem when you feel confident in saying and writing something like this on your Qvest page:

"[Topic] is important, because it affects all of us [or, if you're not part of the project: everybody] in [project/department/company name] when doing [this and this]. I'm asking you to join this Qvest, because your concrete [insights/experiences/know-how] in dealing with this problem should be part of the solution."

Video tip: You or another project ambassador says something to demonstrate that you take the problem and the people it affects very seriously.

3 typical reasons for using Qvest

3 topic templates for framing a Qvest

The 3 topic framing examples used above are inserted here for your cut and paste convenience. 

When you want your stakeholders to join forces:
"I'm kicking off this Qvest because [topic] is important to [project/department/company name] in [this and this] way. And I'm asking you to join the Qvest, because your [insight/experience/know-how] is essential to our success."

When you want your stakeholders to work smarter:
"I'm kicking off this Qvest because your [insight/experience/know-how] is essential when [preparing/executing/improving] what we all need to be focusing on right now, namely: [topic]"

When you want your stakeholders to solve a problem:
"[Topic] is important, because it affects all of us [or, if you're not part of the project: everybody] in [project/department/company name] when doing [this and this]. I'm asking you to join this Qvest, because your concrete [insights/experiences/know-how] in dealing with this problem should be part of the solution."

How to translate questions into Qvest topics

No matter which focus you choose when picking and framing your Qvest topic, remember that at Qvest topic must never be a question.

Questions are contagious, you cannot ask a question without affecting the way your stakeholders think and talk about the topic. So, when you want insight into how your stakeholders think and talk about your topic, you should be careful not to ask them any questions, until you know which questions they ask themselves and each other.

Most of the time, a small adjustment can take you from a question like "How should we roll out our new strategy?" to a Qvest topic like "[Strategy name] roll out."

Or from a question like "How do we coordinate our activities in light of the new global IT organization?" to a Qvest topic like "Activity coordination in light of the new global IT organisation".

As project leads, we are so used to starting with our own questions that this may feel slightly foreign at first, but as with most other things, it's just a matter of practice. 

And remember: If you have any questions or need any kind of help when picking and framing your Qvest topic, we are always only a chat-message away!

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Case: Landing a great project-specific topic

A HR manager in a 3000 person company wanted to run a Qvest in a project team working on re-structuring their global business services. The goal was to motivate the team to engage in the upcoming change management task.

The HR manager picked the topic The Global Business Services expedition, since that was how she expected the participants to feel about the project: As an expedition they knew they were about to go on.

For the short motivational text – making the Qvest topic feel important to the participants - something they wouldn't miss the chance of having an impact on – she wrote this:

[Company name] is moving ahead with our GBS project, and would like to engage you in the journey. We are doing this through a new tool called Qvest that will involve all of us.

All you need to do when the Qvest starts on Wednesday is ask a question relating to the GBS project, that you would like answered. And then select the person you would like to answer your question. If you are selected to answer a question, you should answer the question and then you are allowed to ask a new question – thereby keeping the Qvest rolling.

As you have probably heard or read the GBS project team is maturing their thoughts and ideas on how [Company name]’s GBS will look like - and what role it will play. As the project goes from design to implementation we will rely on all of us to make that vision come true – either as a direct member of GBS or as an internal stakeholder. Therefore we want to tap into our collective mind, and understand what matters to us.

When the Qvest starts on Wednesday, you will receive an email telling you what to do.

Over three days, 48 participants exchanged 43 questions and 33 answers in a Qvest about The Global Business Services. The results provided  insight into:

  • Who and what the project stakeholders thought was important
  • Who and what the project stakeholders didn’t think was important
  • How the project stakeholders related to each other
  • What the project stakeholders focused on
  • What the project stakeholders didn't focus on
  • Where the HR manager should focus to move the GBS project forward

When I asked the HR manager about her reasons for using Qvest, she sent me this:

"My problem is that I don't know what people think. I don't know if they feel committed to the project, if they have practical concerns, if they fear for their role in the new organization or something completely different. With Qvest I can tap into the concerns, and hopes and dreams, of the people in my organization. All I have to do is set a topic."


Here's an article with more information on how to write a Qvest topic: What's the Qvest topic?

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