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Define Project Purpose and Goals

Business projects are never done for their own purpose, they are always part of or support a higher goal or objective.
Define the Project...
  • Describe the business strategies, initiatives, or plans that this project supports and how it supports them.

  • Describe the business problem and or opportunity the project is intended to address.

  • Having a clear description of the problem or problems and or opportunity will enable developing the project's goals and objectives.  

  • If key individuals don't agree with the problem, they won't agree with the proposed solution.

  • The problem and or opportunity, goals, and objectives provide the foundation for determining the project's deliverables

  • Projects solve or minimize problems and or create new opportunities. 

  • Ensuring that all team members have a common understanding of the problem and or opportunity will create focus and enable project success.

Why is the Project Needed...
  • Describe why this project is needed, how it supports the organization’s goals.

  • Identify the key requirements. 

  • At this point in the project this is typically preliminary information and may change as you apply additional steps within the project workflow.

  • Gather what’s available, expand and clarify the information as the project progresses.

  • Include a description of any market and or internal conditions and dynamics that might affect the project, as well as any prior attempts to address the underlying business problem.

  • Review the suggestions and information that was gathered during the project background step.

  • Describe the proposed solution, describe what the project is expected to produce, create, or do.

  • Describe the future state, what it will look and feel like, what will be in place.

  • Develop broad goals and SMART objectives: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Bound.

  • Record and validate assumptions. Assumptions drive risk. If what you're assuming will happen, but doesn't happen, your project may be at risk of not producing the expected result.

  • Define and quantify the tangible business results that this project is expected to produce example; increased revenue, decreased expenses, increased market share, increased customer satisfaction, etc.

  • Define the key factors that will be used to determine and measure project success from the user's or customer’s perspective and describe what the organization stands to gain (or not lose) by implementing the project.

  • Brainstorm the presenting / initial idea to determine its scope and the viability of moving forward.

  • Ideas for projects and action items can come from many places. They can be the result of senior management planning, customer requirements, employee suggestions, responses to daily problems, suggestions for leveraging new technology, etc.

  • Recognize that the presenting idea can change as you move through the project workflow.

  • The key question to automatically ask whenever a new idea surfaces is: What problem will this solve? Recognize that how the problem is defined will determine the direction of the proposed solution.

  • Have there been previous attempts at doing a similar project? What were the results and learnings of any previous attempts?

  • What business metrics will be impacted or affected?

  • If the project is successful, what are the business results that will be realized?

  • If the project is not successful, what business results will be affected?

  • How will the expected results be monitored and tracked? 

  • What will happen if the results are not as expected?

  • Are there any new metrics that need to be established or tracked?

  • What will the intangible results or by-products be?

  • Are there any potential unintended consequences?

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