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Project Goal Statement

© 2004 by Diana Lindstrom, PMP

I’m a die-hard Broncos fan. I watch every game. At the beginning of today’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Dante Hall ran back the kick off for a touch down for the Chiefs. A 97-yard return for a touch down! And they only used 13 seconds for the touch down and point after.

My husband’s comment was, “The Chiefs aren’t doing a very good job with clock management. They have the ball for only 13 seconds and then have to turn it over to the Broncos!”

After we stopped laughing, it started me thinking about project teams. How do the individual members of the project team perceive the project goal? And what are their parts in reaching the shared goal?

The goal of the football team is to win the game. Simple. Yet when any specialist on the team thinks only about his area of expertise, the whole goal can change. Would any coach, or assistant coach, or player give back the touch down points in favor of holding on to the ball longer? NO, of course not.

Similarly, when the subject matter experts (SMEs) on a project team focus on the project goal, the team uses individuals’ strengths to meet that goal. With multiple people working together, using specialized knowledge and skills, the project manager’s job is to show them the “big picture.”

Like great football coaches, great project managers communicate the vision (goal) of the project at every opportunity. To the project team as a whole. To individual members of the team. To stakeholders. To complete strangers. You get the picture.

Have you taken the time to create a simple statement communicating the project goal? If you haven’t, it would be a good thing to do over this holiday. That one simple statement becomes the project vision. Simple, to the point, and descriptive statements work best. For example, a construction project might have this simple statement:

We’re building the most high-tech office building in the downtown Chicago area.

You might go on to say something like: Chicago has never seen an office building that has such versatile electronic connections. All areas will feature wireless Internet connections and wireless communications. The security system is state of the art – beyond anything Chicago has in place right now.

Perhaps you would describe the luxury office suites. Or anything else that the prospective lessee would be interested in knowing. This could also be called a benefit statement – what benefit(s) the end user gets when the project is completed.

Have fun and be creative with it. When you have the simple statement fully developed and can say it easily, you’ll need to make sure it’s on every piece of paper, or electronic file, that has anything to do with the project. Repetition begets memory. You’ll know you’ve succeeded in keeping the project goal in front of the team when they use the simple statement in their communications with others. – I work with project managers who are struggling toward success.

I hope your holidays are full of joy and cheer!

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