The Cart Before the Horse
Just recently I had a potential client contact me about a research project. We briefly discussed my capabilities and what he wanted to learn. A few days later I received an email suggesting some activities to do in the group, and he wondered if they would be good to use. This inquiry caused me to pause for a moment because I could not answer his question, as his research objectives were not clear. I could not assess whether or not the activities would be beneficial as clear goals for the research had not been established.
So, I sent him an email requesting his objectives for the research. I also thought since these were not clearly articulated, it would be good for his team to discuss them, so everyone was on the same page. Finally, I knew this would be critical for the ultimate success of the project.