On October 5, 2016 I published an article in Cognition entitled Deciphering goals and objectives. In that article I described how clients use goals and objectives interchangeably in Request for Proposals (RFPs). I also offered one solution for how to clarify goals from objectives to ensure a proper project approach. Once the goals and objectives of the project are understood, the next step is to identify key performance indicators (KPIs). If you are unsure how to identify and connect KPIs to goals and objectives, here is one method to consider that’s been used successfully at Happy Cog.
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Recently I’ve noticed that the terms “goals” and “objectives” are being used interchangeably in requests for proposals (RFPs) that we receive. It struck me that writing an article that explains how to differentiate goals from objectives has been tried many times before, but the message isn’t being received. Clients still use them interchangeably, making it difficult to differentiate the broader, more strategic purpose of the project (Goals) from the steps that will be taken (Objectives) to fulfill that strategy. If you receive a request for project work, and your prospect has taken some liberties with the use of goals and objectives, here’s one way to translate them into clear statements you can use to help determine your approach to the project.
High fives all around—you’ve just launched another website. It’s truly cathartic when a team’s work fulfills the goals and objectives of a project. But as the project lead, if someone asked, “How much profit did your team generate?”, would you know the answer?
Ideally, you would, because you’ve been keeping track of your costs over the past months. Evaluating project profitability as your project progresses enables you to monitor hours used and assess the efficiency of your project process so you can make strategic adjustments.
If you haven’t been tracking costs incrementally, it’s not too late to make sense of the numbers. Determining project profitability in a digital agency, or really any service-based business, comes down to understanding your costs. Let’s break down one way to determine profitability for a project team, based on time-tracking data.
If you’re in the web industry and reading this article, you’re probably thinking, “Over halfway through 2014 and she’s writing about the fold on the web! I thought we settled this!” But, the existence of the fold is still something that gets debated on many of our projects.
Below is an imagined conversation between myself and a Defender of The Fold, in which I successfully explain why we shouldn’t worry about the fold on the web.
A prospective client recently raised the (periodic) concern that our team wasn’t in close proximity to their headquarters. My reply was thorough: “We have two locations ourselves; successfully working remotely is in our DNA.” “We have a track record of working with clients all over North America and abroad, and a laundry list of client testimonials and references.” “Even when we work with a client in Philadelphia or Austin (where we’re based), those projects behave the same way as when we work with a client in South Dakota. Our process is location-agnostic.” Etc. etc. etc.
The client seemed to appreciate my response, but in the end, they chose a local firm instead. I missed my opportunity to win that particular project, but the next time our proximity to clients comes into question, I’ll have a different response. My answer should have been simple, concise.