The Template Collective Blog

Project management templates… and more

Monthly Archives: September 2014


Goals, Strategies and Objectives Explained

The definition of goals, strategies and objectives can vary from company to company. Here is the TenStep definition. I think it is a good one.

Business Goals

TenStep does not use the term “project goals”. Goals are set at the organization level – not the project level. Objectives are at the project level.

Goals are high-level statements that describe what are organization is trying to focus on for the next three to five years. They are vague (on purpose) and they are direction-setting. Because the goal is at a high-level, it will take many projects over a long period of time to achieve the goal. The goal should reference the business benefit in terms of cost, speed and/or quality. (We call this “better, faster, cheaper”.)

Goals are vague, but not too vague. If you can measure the achievement of your goal in one year (i.e. 25% revenue increase by the end of the year), it is written at too low a level and is more of an objective. If your goal is not achievable through any combination of projects, it is probably written at too high a level (i.e. lead the industry). Perhaps it is more of a vision.

Business Strategies

Business goals tell you what is important. Strategies tell you how you are going to achieve the goals. There may be many ways to achieve your business goals. Your organization’s strategies are a high-level set of directives that articulate how the organization will achieve the goals, and ultimately move toward its long-term vision. Strategies are more inwardly focused and usually try to leverage internal capabilities.

Projects may be authorized that contribute directly to the business goals, or the project may contribute to a strategy. For example, many organizations want to get better at project management. Getting better at project management will not directly align to a “better, faster, cheaper” goal. It is more of a “how” so it better aligns to strategy. Your organization could have a strategy to execute projects more effectively and a project management initiative can align to this strategy.

Project Objectives

Objectives are concrete statements that describe the things the project is trying to achieve. An objective should be written at level that it can be evaluated at the conclusion of a project to see whether it was achieved. A well-worded objective can be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART). SMART is a technique for wording the objective. An objective does not absolutely have to be SMART to be valid.

Objectives are important because they show an agreement between the project manager and the project sponsor on the main purpose of the project. The objectives should be written in a way that they are understandable by all of the project stakeholders. Objectives are also valuable since they provide alignment to organization goals and strategies. Your organization should not authorize projects that do not tie to goals or strategies

Project Template

The Available Free Project Management Templates

The available free project management templates to the business world are useful in many different fashions. Not only can you begin to use them immediately in your next business venture, but you can actually see how efficiently they work in a real world scenario.

The offer of free project management templates from a supplier will never include all of the templates they have to offer. Instead there will be a limited number of them available. This is usually done over the internet with a free downloading option. How you use this free offer to evaluate the product is your choice. Many just rummage thru them to see just what they contain. This is advisable as a first step. This allows for the new users to see just what type of content the template has to offer them.

When you are analyzing the free project management templates, it is advisable to take some critical notes on what you are discovering. One of the critical items you need to note is just how easy the template is to use. Ask yourself, does it follow intuitive thinking? The easier the template is to use and follow, the faster your project manager will be able to document the particular process the template is designed to generate.

Another item to note is what does the final product look like? Most free project management templates have the format and style of the finish document already set in place. Make sure the type of document that is produced will be acceptable by your organization.

The two main reasons an organization is looking at free project management templates to use include the ability to save time in the documentation process of your project. The second is for the consistency that will be generated in using such a project management tool. Both of these are relevant points and should be considered when evaluating the templates you have downloaded.

No all free project management templates that are available today are equal. Know what you need out of this type of tool before you begin to evaluate them is essential. This will make the decision process of choosing the right one for your organization the easiest.

project tool

Using a Project Tool

Having a project tool and knowing how to use it to its fullest potential are two very different things. This is why most of the project management tools of today have training included when they are purchased. This training is specific to the tool on how to use it in multiple ways, so it can best fit the needs of your organization.

Unlike a project tool of the past that was generally an item used on the production floor, today’s project management tools are mainly computer programs of some sort. This type of tool has become an integral part of the business world, since the uses of computers have been extensively integrated into the business sector.

To help spread the word about a new program or project tool, many organizations now introduce them in a manner by offering a portion of their programs for free. This allows the prospective buyer to use it in a trial run. This is the best way to see if the tool itself will be useful to your organization. It will also give your project team the opportunity to see just how easy the program is to learn and use.

These are important to know before you place a substantial amount on the purchase of a project tool to be used in your next business venture. By using them in an actual business venture, you can then gauge just how much money and time the tool has saved in a real world situation. This way, you can make a projection just how beneficial the new tool can be, in the terms of revenue. This then can be presented to the stakeholders of your organization, as the reason in favor of acquiring such a tool to be used by your project team.

The exact type of project tool that will benefit your company the most will be determined by your needs. There are project management templates available for a free trial run. There are also Project Management books of knowledge available to help guide your project leader in new paths to completing a project successfully. There are many other sources that are available if you just look for them. Each one has a specific purpose to help you and your organization to achieve your goals.