The 3 Most Important Things That Define Your Project

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This guest article is by Dr Mike Clayton,
It is a foundation for good project management. We all know this. You can’t manage a mess without it. Scope, goals, and objectives are important. We’ll be discussing how to define them in this article.
This article:
These are the 3 things that make a project definition solid
Goals and objectivesGoals are the first problem
The biggest mistake in scoping projects

There are many more

One thing I have learned from training thousands of project managers is this: This topic seems to be the most lightbulb moment.
For some, defining a project is like making jelly. To my American cousins, that’s jello.
There are many things you want and need. Each stakeholder champions a subset. Each stakeholder has a different style and way of expressing priorities. It gets even more complicated. There are different levels of authority and influence among your stakeholders.
There is another complicating factor. Terminology.
There is a lot of jargon surrounding project definition. This stage of the project lifecycle has the most varied names.

These are the 3 things that make a project definition solid
Let’s get rid of all the noise.
Three things are the core of a solid project description:
These are the most important things to understand and communicate with your stakeholders.
It’s not always easy. Scoping is, in fact, the most difficult part of project management. This is why it is so important to fully understand it.
Goals and objectives are the first problem
This is a problem because it is difficult to distinguish them. Some people use the term ‘goalsandobjectives’ almost interchangeably.
Let me now make it easy for you to distinguish the two ideas.
A goal is what you want. It answers the first question that you should ask your boss, your project sponsor or your client.
“What do you want?”
It is possible that you will need to consult with key stakeholders. Once you have reached a consensus on your project goal, it is time to move on to their objectives.
The objectives define what is important about how you reach your goal. They define the goals and criteria that your stakeholders value. Start with your boss, project sponsor, or client. Next, consult other people. Ask them:
“How do you want the goal to be achieved?”
People will usually answer using the triple constraint of:
They will prefer deadlines to time. They may have needed deadlines.
Cost – They may ask you to stick to a budget.
Quality – They may have specific quality standards that you must meet.
It’s not unusual for stakeholders to try to tie you down to fixing each of these. The refrain of most project managers is:
‘Time, cost, quality: pick two’
This is not a requirement. It’s okay in principle, as long as they are consistent. In order to be acceptable in practice, you must have enough contingency for each one to cover the risk involved in your project.
Consider the following:

Next: The Complete Guide to Project Risk Management
The scope of your project defines the scope of your project’s ambitions. Or, to be more precise, the ambitions of your stakeholders.
It answers the question:
“How much do you want?”
There are two ways to scope. These depend on whether you are based in the UK or the US for project management. Both are equally good, but we all have our preferences.
The scope of your project in the US is the amount and the rand

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