Defining Specific Objectives

Objectives lead to work — work designed to achieve the objectives. Therefore, the more clearly and succinctly you can define an objective, the better chance the work will be done with the correct objective in mind. When laying out your objectives or plan of action, keep the following in mind:

  • Don't talk tech, lingo, jargon, or slang. Not everyone knows the terms, acronyms, code names, trendy nicknames, etc. Speak plain English (or the language of your team members).

  • Be clear and realistic about deadlines. Nothing, as noted previously, can be done yesterday. Set realistic deadlines and make sure everyone is clear on what is due when.

  • Don't be so specific and regimented that your team ends up operating like robots. Give them the leeway to be creative and innovative. Not only will they be more motivated, some marvelous new ideas come from allowing a degree of flexibility.

  • Don't be so loose that you have no parameters or direction to guide and focus your team. You don't want people thinking that any old way they accomplish the job is fine. You'll need to be accountable for the methods employed by, and money spent by, your team. Finding out that your team saved money by buying the new computer system from some guy in the back of a van may not be a good thing!

The better you communicate the objectives, the more likely the project is to reach the desired conclusion. Miscommunication to, and misdirection of, team members are primary reasons for projects not reaching their goals.

Don't micromanage your team. It does nothing to boost morale, foster independence, or encourage growth. Regardless of your intent, micro-managing tells your team members that you don't have faith in their ability to do their work. The only times you may need to micromanage are when you are falling behind schedule or have a team member who is not doing his or her job properly.

The objectives of the project will become the measurement of whether or not the project is complete and one of the measures of whether the project was a success.

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