Objectives Vs outcomes
- Objective: A goal or purpose, a desired future state
- Outcomes: The actual (or targeted) result of an action or activity
OK, so I may have massaged these two definitions just a little to suit my own end, however I am sure we can agree that these are, at least relatively, accurate.
Our approach to projects (a programmed series of actions and activities) is Objectives Driven, but must conclude with… outcomes.
In the view of our Objectives Driven approach clearly capturing objectives and requiring that all project activities align with these objectives is the key and foundation to keeping projects on track and moving in the right direction.
How far you get along these paths (though time and effort) will define the scale of the outcomes.
Project outcomes should be moving the organisation along the path towards its goals, if it is not then something has gone wrong.
Our assertion is that it is the divergence in direction that takes projects off the path towards the organisations objectives is the cause of most project failures.
Some might call this lack of ‘strategic alignment’ – but many projects begin with strong alignment and end up off track.
Others may call it a lack of leadership – but leaders still need clearly defined goals to move the team towards.
Our focus on Objectives is in reality a re-labeling of existing management approaches, however the Skop.es system moves from philosophical statements to a defined and systemised process that can be adopted and followed.
The ingredients to making this happen include providing structures for:
- Capturing Objectives in a concise fashion
- Directly linking Objectives to project deliverables
- Keeping Objectives referenceable and ‘alive’ for decision making (e.g. system selection, prioritisation of delivery)
- Relating basic adoption back to the objectives – e.g. training activities to better attain objectives
- Driving benefits maximisation by referencing back to relative impact on achieving Objectives
Our framework for defining objectives involves breaking each into:
- Overarching business objectives (mission etc) and
- Operational objectives more commonly associated with projects, like return on investment.
More on this framework elsewhere on ObjectivesDriven.com.
The secret source is more detailed, and involves creating meaningful links between project deliverables (commonly IT / system functionality), and subsequently presenting that in a useful / intuitive format at key points in the project lifecycle.