Elements to be included in Project Objectives

  • Statement: A brief narrative description of what you want to achieve
  • Measures: Indicators you‘ll use to assess your achievement
  • Performance specifications: The value(s) of each measure that define success
  • Be brief when describing each objective. If you take an entire page to describe a single objective, most people won‘t read it. Even if they do read it, your objective probably won‘t be clear and may have multiple interpretations.
  • Don’t use technical jargon or acronyms. Each industry (such as pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, finance, and insurance) has its own vocabulary, and so does each company within that industry. Within companies, different departments (such as
    accounting, legal, and information services) also have their own jargons. Because of this proliferation of specialized languages, the same three-letter acronym (TLA) can have two or more meanings in the same organization! To reduce the chances for
    misunderstandings, express your objectives in language that people of all backgrounds and experiences are familiar with.
  • Make your objectives SMART, as follows:
    Specific: Define your objectives clearly, in detail, with no room for misinterpretation.
    Measurable: State the measures and performance specifications you‘ll use to determine whether you‘ve met your objectives.
    Aggressive: Set challenging objectives that encourage people to stretch beyond their comfort zones.
    Realistic: Set objectives the project team believes it can achieve.
    Time sensitive: Include the date by which you‘ll achieve the objectives.
  • Make your objectives controllable. Make sure that you and your team believe you can influence the success of each objective. If you don‘t believe you can, you may not commit 100 percent to achieving it (and most likely you won‘t even try). In that case,
    it becomes a wish, not an objective.
  • Identify all objectives. Time and resources are always scarce, so if you don‘t specify an objective, you won‘t (and shouldn‘t) work to achieve it.
  • Be sure drivers and supporters agree on your project’s objectives. When drivers buy into your objectives, you feel confident that achieving the objectives constitutes true project success. When supporters buy into your objectives, you have the greatest
    chance that people will work their hardest to achieve them.
  • If drivers don‘t agree with your objectives, revise them until they do agree. After all, your drivers‘ needs are the whole reason for your project! If supporters don‘t buy into your objectives, work with them to identify their concerns and develop approaches
    they think can work.
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