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  • Improving Project Outcome Descriptions

    Another querey from the Dept of Fuzzy Thinking--Doing a recent review of my Project list it became clear to me that some of my Projects, although defined in outcome terms, have been more like "guiding values" or a description of my responsbilities rather than Projects. This was became clear to me when a Forum member challenged me on my rather vague "maintain optimal fitness" as a project, noting that it did have any specifics. I can now see that I have often done myself a disservice by stopping with the guiding the value in the project description and trying to jump to the next action. For example, on the fitness project I suppose the project would be more readily "do-able" if stated as a weight range, a diet plan, an indicator of my strength and how often to go to gym. Of course, then it would be sevreal projects I think. And, an additional project might be "Develop one athletic social activity to the point of doing it weekly". Is there a formula or guideline for writing an outcome statement? Maybe I missed something in the book. I tend to think that once this is mastered it becomes clearer when a project needs to be subdivided.

  • #2
    use SMART

    At work, we are encouraged to make our objectives SMART

    Specific
    Measurable
    Achievable
    Realistic
    Time bound

    A google search for "smart objectives" will turn up a lot of discussion.

    I try to define my project outcome in SMART terms, and it really helps keep them non-fuzzy.

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    • #3
      Another Take on SMART

      I've always thought that "Achievable" and "Realistic" were pretty synonymous. Another variation of SMART is:

      Specific
      Measurable
      Action-Oriented
      Realistic
      Time-Bound

      Action-Oriented means that your outcome/goal should be something that you bring about. It is not some happy accident.

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      • #4
        I came to the same realization myself - that my project definitions were fuzzy, and blending in with the 20K level.

        Part of my weekly review checklist now instructs me to ensure that every item on my project list is TRULY a project, with a specific objective defined, which can clearly be determined whether or not it is complete.

        I also have taken something, I believe straight from "getting things done", which says to lean towards defining projects in terms of what you can gain a "win" outcome, regardless of what anyone else does, or happens.
        ie "I have maximized my chances to win contraxt X by this date", rather than "Win contract X"

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