Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar iconNot recorded
Adobe PDF icon

Setting Measurable Project Objectives

~ By Dr. Keith Mathis

Glass circle colour disco ball

Examine ten projects at random, and you will see some of the worst written objectives. Project objectives are often hard to track, vague, and lacking in depth. In project objectives, people need details to help know where they are in the process, and data helps them make informed decisions. I like to recommend "DISCO" when forming objectives. "DISCO" can be spelled out to point us in the proper direction for creating project objectives and tracking their progress.

D - Detail Specifics

Give as much information as possible and make these objectives very specific. Far too many objectives have been set, which are very grey in nature and lack data to help team members understand all specifics.

I - Include Qualitative and Quantitative Measurements

Objectives must be measured. When you look at an objective, you must ask, Can we measure this? If not, it needs to be rewritten so that it can be measured and tracked for successful completion. The only way to do this is to make sure qualitative and quantitative components are set.

Qualitative measurements measure a project based on quality standards, quality indicators, or quality characteristics. Defect ratio, break down ratio, and improvement needs are all to be considered. Each of these can be prioritised and broken down into a specific tracking mechanism to follow and monitor.

Quantitative measurements measure the project based on numerical indicators. Some of the most common quantitative measurements are time, budget, production, work hours, process time, and development progress. Quantitative measurements normally include the need to set a series of benchmarks as a starting point to begin tracking.

S - Seek Consensus With the Team

Making sure the team agrees with the measurement is very important. Sometimes objectives are set at the beginning of the project, and they are very loose. When the team sets a standard of measurement, it will usually be detailed and understandable. It is important because the team needs to be on the same page during planning. They must agree that these standards are the best possible measurements considering the project.

C - Create a Reasonable Approach in Obtaining Those Objectives

The approach for reaching objectives is very important. Unless the approach is understood by the entire team and supported, there will be conflict in the team's processes. Conflict means you will have people going in different directions and using various methods.

O - Operate in a Methodical Timeframe

Setting up a timeline and follow it. This timeline must make sense and be publicised to the entire team. You must constantly focus on maintaining clarity.

An example of a great DISCO objective is, We will design 15 training courses that meet organisational development guidelines by June 30 with a budget of $483,000. We will include courses on supervision, communication, performance appraisals, and creating an optimistic workplace. DISCO objectives can be very successful in pushing the project forward and bridging the gap for communication. However, good objectives will never write themselves, nor will they track themselves.


Dr. Keith Mathis, founder and CEO of The Mathis Group specialises in Project Management, Management Leadership, and Marketing training for private businesses and government agencies of all kinds. He offers 33 Project Management courses, is a Project Management Professional, is certified by the Project Management Institute and will customise every training session to your individual company's needs. The Mathis Group also sponsors www.pmexpertlive.com which is a powerful project management resource with free reports, podcasts, videos, and a monthly newsletter. He also offers customised management training and coaching on any subject with prolific communication and professionalism.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Enter the word shark backwards.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

A Tale of Two Projects

Two serious businessmen working with a tablet computer

A business tale of what it takes to turn around troubled projects. How did PintCo recover their Customer Master File project when everything was going in the wrong direction.

Coming to Terms With the Finish Date

Colourful calendar pages

Every project has a finish date. This article looks at how the finish date for a project is derived and how a project team comes to terms with that date.

Authority Earned, Not Given

Group of business people looking and pointing at a chart

For project managers, the support of their team is critical for completing projects successfully. Yet, a team's respect cannot simply be assigned like a task.

Undertaking a Successful Project Audit

Audit checklist clipboard with checkboxes marked for related concepts

A project audit provides an opportunity to uncover issues, concerns and challenges encountered during the project lifecycle.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Tor Christensen commented on…
Understanding the Project Management Triple Constraint
- Sat 21 April 7:17pm

Bukky commented on…
Project Management Success with the Top 7 Best Practices
- Tue 17 April 8:55pm

Duncan Haughey commented on…
SWOT Analysis
- Fri 6 April 7:24am

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Implement a new audio and video recording system https://t.co/deeg3oNXO9 about 19 hours ago

General Project Management • Influence of management corrective actions on project control and forecasting https://t.co/BfeA9LKdBM about 8 days ago

General Project Management • Recently passed the PMP exam. Read my story https://t.co/rOe4P6if4Z about 12 days ago