How to define project goals
10 Feb

How to define project goals

Setting a goal is one thing, achieving a goal is another. Companies that think and work in projects are repeatedly exposed to this difficulty. It takes more than clear words to define real project goals from a project utopia. Because often only the result after the finish line is focused but not the way there. However, the many small milestones are often relevant in order to make it verifiable in the end: Have we achieved our goal?

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All eyes on the project goals

Of course, it is important to keep the focus on the goal. However, one should not stumble upon it blindly. Every step must be examined with the question: Does this bring us closer to the goal? Especially in projects in which several people are involved, everyone in the project team takes on this control function. This allows all employees to check that they are pulling in the same direction. Without a unified focus, the definition of goals or goal is likely to be different and prioritized differently.

In addition, various questions have to be answered that are not related to the goal, but are still relevant for achieving it. What if the project is in a crisis situation? What could this look like? And how can the goal still be achieved?

SMART – e project goals

These questions can only be answered if you have a clear goal in mind. To do this, you first need someone who defines the project goal. This is usually the client of the project. In the case of an ERP project, this often starts with the introduction of a new system. However, this goal is usually associated with the idea that something in the company should change. Such as more efficiency, better controlling or automated processes. In the definition of these goals, for example, the existing ones must already be included processes included and considered whether these objectives can be implemented and measured. This is the first major task of the project team - and in ERP projects it is often reflected in the process analysis contrary. Although it is said that the goals should not be defined until the project kick-off, this is usually a little late. The pre-project phase is best suited for formulating the goals, since goal definitions can also decide on the system selection.

At this point, it is often helpful to use the SMART acronym, which shows whether goals are clearly formulated and measurable. SMART stands for

  • Sspecific
  • Medible
  • Aaccepted
  • Rrealistic
  • Tdetermined

If it is an example of an ERP project and the goal is to introduce a new system, it could look something like this: In the new system, the time from receiving an order to shipping is reduced by 40%.

Special case: agile projects

Instead of a project goal in the classic sense, “product versions” are defined for agile projects. Their focus is on the benefit of the product - i.e. the end result of the project - for the user. This approach sometimes also makes sense for classic projects, since project goals can easily be derived from a product version.

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