Appreciative inquiry/Project Management


Project Management overview

  1. What is appreciative inquiry (AI)?
  2. What are the implications of AI on defining project scope?

Sample paper

Appreciative inquiry/Project Management

Human being is a social being that lives or engages in social groups to feel the sense of belonging and appreciated. To be able to participate in a group, an individual has to find the best group, learn about their organization and the relevant environment and world around these groups.  The concept of appreciative inquiry uses positive experiences to help a person or a group of people to lay down a plan of what to do next to ensure there is bright future ahead of them. Through appreciative inquiry, one can find all he wants to know about a group of people (Hammond, 2013). We can define appreciative inquiry as a method of thinking or course of action that an individual may take that brings change in an organization. Those who participate in these activities assume that all that a person desires in an organization or a group is always present all he has to do is to form a strategy to find it. Thus, such characters only need to seek for the desired situations and outcomes. Appreciative inquiry pushes an individual to ask himself what was happening when things were okay, and everything was going as per the plan. Some of the fundamental questions that AI seeks to know include;

  • What were the people in your organization doing at the time? Generally, their behavior, feelings, and actions
  • What was going on around you as an individual?
  • What was your exact reaction that point?

Project management

On the other hand, project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and overseeing the work of a team that is designated to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. The primary challenge faced by project managers is to reach all these aims and constraints within the stipulated time and budget. At the beginning of a project, the project office needs to come up with rules and regulations and manual that need to be followed throughout the work (Whitney, 2010).  There is a strong relationship between project management and appreciative inquiry considering that most project managers use it to set manuals and project scope. Some of the underlying assumptions of AI that makes it useful to project management include;

  • In every group or organization, something works
  • Focus equals reality
  • There are multiple realities that are created at any given moment
  • Asking questions and the phrasing of the questions influences the settings of the organization
  • Through the use of past experiences, participants are confident of facing the future
  • They only carry the active parts of the past forward leaving out the negative parts
  • Differences in members and ideologies must be valued
  • Reality is molded by language used by every member of the group

Thus, appreciative inquiry involves a systematic discovery of what keeps a group of people united and alive by providing a way to approach change in a holistic way.

Each project creates a unique product, service, or result in particular stakeholders’ desires. Project success partially depends on upon identifying key stakeholders through evaluating wants and desires to determine project scope. Thus, involvement in early stages of the project is very crucial (Cooperrider, 2008). Appreciative inquiry is a paramount tool when it comes to project scope since project stakeholders are in a position to navigate through questions through active conversations.

Below are some of the ways that appreciative inquiry is used to define project scope.

  • Designing– answers the question what has been? The design comprises of inquiring and discovery active capacity of a group organization or community. In this phase, participants are encouraged to use stories to describe their strengths and experiences to understand the unique needs that lead their success. All stakeholders review their pasts and take the active parts of them to help them carry out the task at hand. These positive aspects assist them to form project scope since they believe they will achieve these objectives.
  • Dreaming– contributes to answering the question what could be? Builds on the moment of excellence of the participants and encourage them to imagine what would be if they succeeded. Members make ideal conditions and hopes for a bright future thus creating project scope. This phase should encourage participants to work on their strengths and also dream of the best path to take(Hammond, 2013).
  • Designing– answers the question what will be? This segment creates principles that are meant to help the participants realize their dreams and desires. They try to move the current situation to a higher standard to make it better and attractive. Participants are encouraged to think of a world free of constraints.
  • Delivery– answers the question what will be? In this stage, all participants are encouraged to take up responsibilities and duties that aim at completion of the project. All members need to commit themselves towards the achievement of the goals of the project.

From the above information, it is correct to conclude that project scope and management has a strong correlation with appreciative inquiry. Project managers and all participants can define the scope of their project to ensure they are in line with project objectives and goals (Cooperrider, 2008).


Cooperrider, D. W. (2008). he appreciative inquiry handbook: For leaders of change. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Hammond, S. A. (2013). The thin book of appreciative inquiry. thin Book publishing.

Whitney, D. D.-B. (2010). The power of appreciative inquiry: A practical guide to positive change. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.