The project goal statement should be the driving force behind the project. It should be the touchstone against which everything done on the project is measured. A good project goal statement is SMART
Specific: The goal should state exactly what the project is to accomplish. It should be phrased using action words (such as "design," "build," "implement," etc.). It should be limited to those essential elements of the project that communicate the purpose of the project and the outcome expected.
Measurable: If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure for the project; if the goal is accomplished, the project is a success. However, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the goal. Caution: Watch for words that can be misinterpreted such as; improve, increase, reduce (by how much?), customer satisfaction (who decides if they're satisfied and how?), etc. If you must include them, be sure to include how they will be measured. If you use "jargon" terms, be sure that everyone who reads them interprets them the same way.
Agreed-upon: Does everyone in the organization have to agree that the project is necessary and desirable? No. Then who? Obviously, those who must do the project need to agree that it is necessary. Realistically, those individuals who control the resources necessary to get the project done need to agree that it is important. In addition, those who will be impacted by the project should agree that it needs to be done. Beyond that, agreement about the project is not likely to impact your ability to get it done one way or another.
Realistic: This is not a synonym for "easy." Realistic, in this case, means "do-able." It means that the learning curve is not a vertical slope; that the skills needed to do the work are available; that the project fits with the overall strategy and goals of the organization. A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the people working on it but it shouldn't break them.
Time-framed: Probably one of the easiest PARTS of the goal to establish the deadline. Very little is ever accomplished without a deadline. This is particularly true of work that is in addition to everything else that you need to do in your day. Building the delivery deadline into the project goal keeps it in front of the team and lets the organization know when they can expect to see the results.
Most effective project goals are between 25 and 50 words. They can be written on one side of a 3" x 5" card. They can be quoted at the drop of a hat.
If you learn better by doing, you'll want to download our software as we've incorporated many of the approaches and best practices cited in the tips section. In less than 30 minutes, you can have your first project created. Jumpstart my project, with Project KickStart.
Jeff Crow is a Portland, Oregon
consultant and trainer. He conducts seminars and
workshops on project management and organizational
development for corporations and through the Professional
Development Center at Portland State University.
Find out about Jeff's on-site workshops
|Quick Links:||Webplanner | Customer Successes | Products & Pricing | Education Pricing | Non Profit Pricing | About Us | Project Management News | Project Management Software Free Trial | Project Management Videos | Project Management Tips | Project Management Templates | Project Management Consultants and Trainers | Technical Support | Thinking Tools Store | Project KickStart Store | Site Search|
|Features Tour:|| Easy Project Planning | Gantt Chart | Personal Task Assignments | Project Management Reports | Merging Multiple Projects | Project Dashboard | Document Management | Sharing and Collaboration with Webplanner
|Project Management Software