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Defining Project Goals and Objectives
The very first step in all projects: business, home, or education, is to define goals and objectives. This step defines the projects outcome and the steps required to achieve that outcome. People, including project managers, do not spend sufficient time on this step or complete it incorrectly thereby ensuring an unsuccessful project completion.
Poorly defined goals and objectives, or goals without objectives, pushes a project into overruns, territory battles, personality clashes, missed milestones, and unhappy clients.
Goals and objectives must be clear statements of purpose. Each with its own purpose that drives the end result of the project. Goals and objectives MUST be measurable.
Goals are the "WHAT"
Goals are broad statements applied to a project. Goals are the "what" of the process. In other words, "what" will the project accomplish? Projects may have more than one goal, but many objectives per goal. Do not confuse goals with objectives.
- Website development goal: Visitors will be convinced that global warming exists.
- Insurance company: The Medical Insurance department will increase provider options by 10%.
- Physicians office: Patients will not wait longer than 1 hour to see a physician.
Objectives are the "HOW"
Objectives are specific statements that support the goal. Every goal will have one or more objectives tied to it. In essence, the objective is the "how" of the process.
Always start an objective with an action verb. This ensures that the objective is measurable and that the projects end-result is addressed through the action of the objective. Each objective becomes a measurable milestone as well.
1. Goal: Visitors will be convinced that global warming exists.
- Create a table comparing the costs of addressing global warming today verses 100 years from now.
- Illustrate the effects of global warming in a photo gallery.
- Identify and address the "myths" of global warming.
2. Goal: The Medical Insurance department will increase provider options by 10%.
- Identify provider options and costs.
- Survey the customer to find out each options value.
- Compare options to competitors.
3. Goal: Patients will wait less than 1 hour to see a physician.
- Evaluate personnel requirements.
- Purchase new appointment scheduling software.
- Setup appointment confirmation schedule.
Keeping goals and objectives in the forefront of every project ensures that the project and the team are on the same page throughout the projects life cycle.
Whether in education, business or are running a household, clearly defined goals and objectives will support the projects successful result.
Rhonda Goetz is the owner and CEO of Chrome Zebra, Inc. She also is an authorised harassment and discrimination trainer and online instructional designer.
The Top 7 Reasons Why Goals Are Not Achieved
It is that time of year again when we reflect on what we had hoped to accomplish in the past year and what we plan to accomplish in the next. Most times we look back and realise that we did not quite measure up to our hopes and dreams. As a business advisor and executive coach I have found that people tend to make the same mistakes when setting goals for both their business and personal lives.
Once you have planned your project, turn your attention to developing several goals that will enable you to be successful. Goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.
Use SMART Objectives to Focus Goals, Plans and Performance
Objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-bound) are likely to be achieved. Learn how to develop SMART objectives with the power to focus goals, work plans, and commitment to performance targets. Because meaningful and practical measures are built in, SMART objectives also enable feedback and learning that can keep you on track to success.
SMART Goals Aren't Good Enough
When a tool is inspired by a clever acronym, you've got to wonder how robust it actually is. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Sounds great, but that's actually not enough. Is it a good goal, or a 'should' goal?
The Seven ABC's of Project Management
- Always be Closing
- Always be Courteous
- Always be Considerate
- Always be Cultivating
- Always be Cognitive
- Always be Competent
- Always be Communicating
21 Ways to Excel at Project Management
The popular project management eBook fully updated and available as a website.