Join Haydn Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Defining the business objective, part of Business Analysis Foundations.
- Let's say you went to work tomorrow, and your boss called you into her office. If she proceeded to share with you that you needed to do your job better and stopped at that point, you may have questions, things such as do what better, what does better mean, how much more or less do you want me to do, are likely to enter your thoughts. The same is true with business objectives. They need to be defined and targets set to ensure your projects do not disappoint people who might have different perspectives on the concept of better.
Objectives are not that difficult to establish if you focus on some fundamental business perspectives. First, use common structures. Focusing objectives on items that are familiar can create buy in, and allow your business team members to march in a unified direction. I suggest you frame objectives in one of these structures. Firstly, financial elements, like profit increases, cost decreases, or productivity measures, or surpassing your competitors in price point or capability, or in other environments, achieving compliance with regulations, or regulations in more countries.
Once you've applied a common structure to a business objective it's essential that you establish a target for that objective. Although better is easy to say, you don't want to stop there as you will not have a clear end point, and you won't know when your project is over. Here are my tips for setting effective targets. First, be specific. Apply a number, 12 percent productivity improvement, increase compliance to 98 percent of all applications, are good examples. Second, understand and share the starting point.
It is not particularly effective to say you want a 12 percent productivity improvement, if there's not a universal opinion or data about the current level of productivity. The line in the sand needs to be drawn so your business and project teams will understand where your journey starts along with where it needs to end up. Third, ensure everyone knows how the target will be measured. Using my productivity example again, it's important to note if you are measuring productivity and parts produced per person, or parts produced per hour, or another construct.
That way the nature of the productivity improvement will be known and can focus the project teams. The next business perspective to share is this, ensure you gain agreement on what the business needs to do to achieve the business objective, not just the project team. Although the project team may create fantastic new processes, or more efficient approaches to run the business, there are common activities the business must agree to to do as well. Common examples are, schedule and allow for appropriate training of their personnel, change marketing material with customers to promote new products or capabilities, and put new performance monitoring in place, and manage employees to ensure new processes are executed and new targets are measured.
Given these approaches you will likely establish great business objectives. However, there is one more thing to check to ensure you're successful in achieving better business outcomes. You may need to examine downstream processes. It would not be a good outcome if you increase your business ability to produce products by 15 percent if you had no means to ship that product, because your warehouse and freight capabilities could not handle that increase. Ensure that your business can handle the results of your business objectives should they be achieved.
To verify the project will deliver the expected outcomes, and contribute to the overall goals of the organization ensure the new project objectives match up to what the organization is trying to achieve. You do this by aligning your project objectives to one or many of the overall organization's strategic objectives.
Discover where business analysis lives in the project life cycle, how to initiate a project, the best way to gather requirements, and smart strategies to monitor results and test outcomes.
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- Understanding what business analysts do
- Defining business opportunities and objectives
- Identifying stakeholders
- Gathering requirements through observation and brainstorming
- Validating requirements
- Developing project acceptance criteria
- Implementing, testing, and closing your project<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.