Project Goal and Purpose

Determine your Project's Goal

I hope you enjoyed learning about the structure of a project and overviewing the Definition Stage.

Now it's Time to get to Work and start Defining your Project

And your starting point must be the Goal of your Project. This is the aim of the project; what its sponsors want to achieve. So the key question you are going to be asking your client, your boss, your sponsor, or your key stakeholders is:

'What do you want?'

What is a Project Goal?

The first video to watch is 'What is a Project Goal?' It will help you understand what you are looking for at this stage. It will also explain why you need to think about the wording you use to document the goal you agree on.

Goal and Objectives

Project goals to not sit in isolation. You need to accompany your goal with objectives. The challenge is that people often hear the phrase 'Goals and Objectives' and think they are one thing. Even dictionaries are woolly on the distinction.

So take a look at the video 'Goal and Objectives' in the module 'Understand Your Goal in Context'. This will draw a valuable distinction that will serve you well, as a Project Manager. You don't have to agree that the definitions of the words are 'right'. What is useful is that each represents a distinct concept. In the next unit, we'll focus on your objectives.

Project Purpose

The final video module in this section is about Project Purpose. This will take your thinking to a higher level. Higher in the sense of great abstraction. But it is an important idea if you aspire to:

  • a strategic role, to project leadership,
  • program or portfolio management, or
  • leadership of a Project or Program Management Office (PMO).

Start your Project Definition

When you have watched these videos, it's time to start meeting your key stakeholders and discovering your Project Goal. You may be lucky: you may have one stakeholder who will set a definitive goal for you. And you may be doubly lucky, if they are clear what they want and able to express it with precision.

If not, you have your single most important role. You must discern a clear, well-articulated goal from the differing perceptions of a number of stakeholders.

When you have a clear 'trial goal', test it out with the people who will ultimately authorize your project. Do not rush this stage. If you get your goal wrong, success is impossible. Delivering the wrong goal is failure.

To help you, we have created a Project Definition template for you to collate the information you gather. Download it from the final module in this section.

Complete and Continue