Project planning – detailed objectives

January 27th, 2011

So, you have articulated the overall business aim – what next?

Then, you need to consider the detailed objectives of this project – what do you need to achieve, by when and for how much? In order to do this, what are they key points, usually called the milestones, along the way? How many, how detailed, how far apart will vary depending on the nature of the project …. and the reasons for it.

Let’s consider an example – you need to move premises. Why you need to do so will impact on many other things. Are you moving because:

  • the block is being knocked down and you have no choice?
  • the organisation has changed the way it does business, with more client-facing staff out in the field, not needing permanent desks or parking spaces?
  • you are growing steadily or even swiftly?
  • you are down-sizing to save costs?

If you are the business leader / owner, what goes through your mind at the thought of each of these scenarios? What is likely to go through the minds of your colleagues and staff? These thoughts, feelings and emotions will have a far greater impact on the project and its progress than many businesses take into account. Before you get very far with your planning, be clear as to why you are undertaking this project and what emotions you, and others, attach to it.

What does this have to do with objectives?

In this scenario, there are different elements to the objectives:

New premises – you will set a budget for the total cost of the new premises, legal fees, new equipment, work required to prepare new premises and moving everything in as well as target dates to take possession and to move out.

Transition ie moving out/in – then there will be a budget for moving existing staff, fixtures, documentation and whatever else is required and a time budget for when this will be done ie time lost during working hours, overtime required or cost of packing/unpacking.

Running the project – there are also costs to running the project itself including all the meetings to research and decide on the premises and fitting it out and also the communication with staff. Thinking of the different scenarios above, the reasons why management have decided to move impact on how they react – and they know the reasons. What is the impact on the staff, if they don’t know? They will make assumptions. The more open you are with staff about the real reasons for the project and its desired outcomes, the more people will understand and work with you. The more you hide, the more sceptical they become and, even when the project is for “good reasons”, it doesn’t get the outcomes you want, when you want them.

And you?

If you’d like help clarifying or agreeing the aims of a project, or to discuss related issues, please contact Sue on:

sue@suecohen.co.uk 020 8953 6477 / 07971 400653

Feel free to send me an invite on LinkedIn and let me know how you found me –

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/suecohen01

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