A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Define Your Project’s Goal

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

When you start a new project, defining your goal has to be your top priority. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new Website, an SEO campaign, an email marketing campaign or anything else. You have to be able to distill into a few sentences what your goal is. And you have to have agreement from everyone with a say.

Without a well defined goal, you run two risks

  1. Scope creep
  2. Loss of focus

Scope creep, like homeowners saying “while we’re at it” during a remodel, creates problems of budget and schedule. Not ideal, but as long as the funding, resources and time are there, not lethal, either.

Losing focus, though, can be deadly. You begin adding features that might sound like they make sense or are somehow related to the goal. A slight change in direction here, another change there, and you wind up missing your target by miles.

A well defined, written goal also gives you something to point to when you say no. It’s a way to keep the even well-intentioned participants from sidetracking your project.

Two Keys to a Great Project Goal

  • Distill the goal down to one short paragraph. A few sentences. Any longer than that and you aren’t thinking strategically enough.
  • Get buy-in from key stakeholders. Yup, it’s a pain to get them all in the same room at the same time. But once you do, you should be able to knock out the Project Goal in 20 minutes or so.


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