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company to state the goal of the project. I would bet the farm that you get
three different answers. For an IT project, for example, the IT director might
tell you the goal is to reduce tech support calls, the project manager might
say the goal is to upgrade all server software to the latest version, and the
technician might specify that the goal is to get all the software installed by
next Thursday. (Sound familiar?)
To define a goal and scope for your project, answer these questions:
For a goal:
• What will be different when the project is complete?
• What will the project achieve? Will a building be built, a workforce
trained, or a space shuttle launched?
For the scope:
• What will the project cost?
• How many people will be involved?
• Whom does the project affect: A workgroup, division, company, or
• What deadlines does the project have?
Everything but the kitchen sink:
What to include
After you have a clear picture of your project goal and the scope of the work
to be done, you can begin to think about what your outline should contain.
For example, here’s the first of three approaches to an outline of tasks for
planning a company party:
I. Send invitations
II. Reserve Conference Room B
III. Order food
Perhaps a little more detail would be helpful:
I. Company Christmas party
1. Design invitations
2. Mail invitations