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Project definition

Project result, objective and goal

Defining the project well and setting the exact goals and objectives is necessary to have any good success in managing your project. The project definition a client gives you at the start, forms the base of the project plan that the projectionist and the raci project team has to work out.

The project plan is in fact the contract between the client and the project manager and should make clear to all involved what the project result should be. The goal of a project often leads to bigger goals or needs by the commissioning company or client. The scope of these goals and the expected result should be very clear in the beginning, or should be made clear by asking all information you need.

Project definition

If you start with a project you just need to know a few things before you can actual start working out the plans and the activities to get to the final result. The project definition should give you the right view and scope of the project. A good definition contains the following subjects:

  • The problem (that will be solved with this project)
  • The motivation
  • The scope and goal
  • The project result
  • The demarcation of the project
  • The effects of the project result
  • The end-users of the project result
  • The constraints of the project
  • The relation to other projects

The client of the project has to give clear information about the project and ambitions to make a good project definition. As said, this is important information that forms the base of the project plan and the control systems within that plan.

SMART criteria and the project result

To make the project definition as clear as possible, it is wise to formulate the goal and project result using the so called S.M.A.R.T. criteria. By thinking in a smart way, you can easily take away ambiguities right away.

The letters of the SMART-criteria stand for:

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Achievable
  • R = Relevant
  • T = Time bound

By using these criteria in formulating your project result, you should get a real clear idea of what that result should be. It is not always possible to make a very clear SMART definition, and sometimes a few things are still open at that moment, but you should strive to make it as complete as possible at all times.

For example:

‘Building a new house’ is NOT a good and SMART definition of the project result.

‘Building a 2 story, 3 bedroom house of 160 m2, within the building code, ready by the end of 2022, and within the budget of $ 300.000,-‘ is a much better SMART definition.

project definition