Chapter 2.
Refining Your Project Purpose and Outcomes

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso, Painter


This week’s work brings us down the path of the Project Analysis phase of our work. The beginning purpose of the project analysis is to clarify our project purpose, goals and outcomes (the objectives) and use those key components to refine our project concept. In his article “10 Smart Goals Examples for Small Businesses in 2020”, Patrick Proctor provides some SMART goals examples to illustrate how learning to implement these types of targets can lead to long-term success.

When we think about sharpening our project objectives, it is important to know what constitutes a well written objective. An objective is a statement that clearly describes an anticipated outcome that is observable, measurable and can be achieved within a reasonable time.

Some examples of objectives might include:

  1. Increased efficiency
  2. Higher productivity
  3. Improved customer experience
  4. Expanded revenue streams
  5. Decreased employee turnover
  6. Reduced waste

Why are objectives important to our capstone project? While having a concept or idea around “growing our customer base” or “employee retention” or “starting a business” sound wonderful, giving ourselves reasonable goals that we can measure and evaluate make our project concepts powerful.

Some capstone projects may be focused on developing something new, such as a new business or a leadership training program within your organization. In these instances, your project objectives might include:

  1. Establishing the formation of your business entity
  2. Preparing a location analysis for your new business
  3. Strategizing a marketing plan to launch and maintain your business presence
  4. Forecasting profitability estimates for the business

Or, in the case of developing a leadership training program, your objectives may include:

  1. Identifying the key components of a consistent leadership training program
  2. Establishing the criteria for participation in the program
  3. Formulating a survey for measuring satisfaction with the program from both participant and team member perspectives
  4. Developing continuing education opportunities after the initial program roll-out

To come at this from a different angle, your project concept might be to plan a conference to be held at your organization which would bring your subcontractors together for a day of collaboration, sharing of ideas, and education around cutting edge industry developments. In this case, your project objectives might include:

  1. Outline the logistical components for the venue including parking, room layout and seating, signage, technological needs, etc.
  2. Identify the keynote speaker
  3. Collaborate with team members to establish 2 to 3 additional presentation topics and presenters of interest
  4. Gather pricing for catering, floral arrangements, giveaways
  5. Establish a budget for the event
  6. Establish the invite list

As you begin to draft your project analysis, you will want to start articulating your project purpose and objectives clearly as this will help to refine the focus of your research into best practices.

In his TedTalk “Four Keys for Setting and Achieving Goals”, William Barr gives us great food for thought:

 

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