Project Management

The Power of Results-Based Goals

Project sponsors carry responsibility for physically writing the goals of a project, which in turn should explain how a project relates to organizational strategy. Poorly written goals create instant problems for the project managers who inherit them. In a post for the Project Risk Coach, Harry Hall provides tips for writing better project goals that will yield better project results.

Start with the End

The best way to write better goals is to understand the difference between activity-based goals and result-based goals. An example of an activity-based goal that Hall provides is, “Implement a new call center software solution by the end of the third quarter, 20XX.” His result-based goal example is, “Increase revenue by 10% over the prior year by 12/31/20XX.” While the former merely describes the work to be done, the latter describes the organizational benefit striving to be obtained.

Certainly, there is high value in knowing the nature of the work that must be completed, but knowing the “why” underneath that work is equally important. If a project manager is dealing with a project sponsor who writes activity-based goals, then the project manager should seek clarity on the underlying need for the activities. For instance, perhaps a project manager asks why call center software is needed:

The sponsor might reply, “Our customer service measure has dropped from 95% to 87% over the last six months. We need better tools to monitor our call volume and wait time. I want the Call Center Manager to periodically review and evaluate the recorded calls and wait times and then provide coaching and training to the Call Center Team.”

Suddenly, everything makes more sense, and actions can be fine-tuned to align with this logic. Thus, even if results-based goals have not been explicitly written, it is within the project manager’s power to develop them with just a little bit of questioning. You can view the original post here:

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