Based on what you want to see happen and what you do not want to see happen, state what you think are the objectives of your project. (Find help for stating your goals through Mind Tools #4 and Guide to Project Management, pp. 6-7).
Define project objectives
One of your most challenging planning tasks is to meld stakeholders’ various expectations into a coherent and manageable set of goals. The project’s success will be measured by how well you meet those goals. The more explicitly you state them at the outset, the less disagreement you will face later about whether you have met expectations. In the planning phase, however, much is still in flux, so you’ll revise your objectives later on, as you gather information about what you need to achieve. When defining objectives; think SMART. They should be:
- Action – oriented
- Time – limited
Suppose your HR department has been tasked with identifying potential new providers for your company’s health benefits plan because the current ones aren’t delivering the level of service they should give how much money employees have to pay for them. The project’s SMART objectives may be to:
- Survey <action-oriented> at least six <Measurable> providers that meet the department’s minimum threshold criteria for service quality.
- Recommend <action-oriented >, at the June <time-limited>board of directors’ meeting, the three <specific> that offer the best and broadest coverage at a cost that is at least 10% <realistic> less than the company’s current per-employee contribution.
Keep the following factors in mind as you define your project’s objectives:
- Quality. Identify quality standards, and determine how to measure and satisfy them.
- Organization. Calibrate goals depending on the people and other resources you have available.
- Communication. Determine what information each stakeholder needs and how to deliver it.