How to Effectively Document a Project Goal

Why It’s Important to Document a Project Goal

Don’t underestimate the importance of a clear goal.  A clear goal sets the pace, tone and direction for the entire project team, and helps to manage expectations of senior management.  If your project goal is too broad, too many different interpretations can happen leading to disparate team directions.  If your goal is too narrow, creativity may be blocked.

Once it is defined, make sure the entire team has a clear understanding of the overall team’s project goal.  They’ll use this knowledge to make decisions and tradeoffs within their own functional areas.  By understanding the team’s project goal, your individual team members can make more informed decisions and trade offs that are aligned with the overall team goal.

In her book, Real People, Real Change, Donna Strother Highfill says, “As change warriors, it is our job to help employees identify and agree upon one common goal, and then create a new road to get there.”  This is the basis of change management.

How to Document a Project Goal

To begin drafting your project goal, meet with the champion of the new project (the project sponsor).  This is the person who is the overall champion of the new project within your company, the person who has the most to loose if the product doesn’t get launched.  To clearly articulate your project goal, work with your project sponsor and make sure your goal is specific and includes the following:

  • Rationale (why it’s important)
  • What will be delivered (functional view)
  • With what financial results, short- and long-term views (revenue results)
  • Within what time period, short- and long-term (by when it needs to be accomplished)
  • Based on what assumptions (parameters)

Make sure your goal is achievable by checking it against the project’s:

  • Staffing Availability
  • Funding
  • Technology Capabilities
  • Overall Timing
  • Strategic ‘Fit’ within the Company

Done?  Great, but there’s one more, very important, step.

Once finished, the next step is to properly socialize and solidify your goal with those affected by this goal and those who oppose it.  More on this in my next blog post.

The above article is an excerpt from my recently published book, ‘How to Launch a New Product Faster