I’m trying to re-caffeinate after a long journey with my client.  You know those times when your flight comes in late at night but you still gotta go to work early the next day?  Well, that’s me right now.  Honestly, they need to add more hours to the day.

Not that the journey wasn’t worth it.  I’ve learned a lot in the past few days about this client, but most importantly, I’m reflecting on the criticality of developing solid objectives for -any- initiative, whether it be training or a large PR campaign. 

Many projects start with a business goal (whether these are well-written or appropriate is for another blog).  We then target project objectives to match that business goal.  But many times, objectives are written without real analysis.  Consider:

This PR campaign will inform the public about our new widget.

OK, that’s a start.  But there’s nothing measurable at all about this objective.  Who is the public?  Why do they need to know about the widget?  What does ‘inform’ mean?  Let’s try this:

Employees will understand our new non-smoking policy.

This suffers from the same problems at the previous objective.  What do the learners need to do in order to ‘understand’ the policy?  Being able to re-write a policy verbatim certainly isn’t the objective.  Let’s try this:

After training, employees will no longer smoke within 20 ft. of the entrance of the building.

See the difference?  I added ‘after training’ for clarity, but we’re focusing on actual observable and measurable results.  I can measure knowledge with a test, but I can do it better by measuring how many employees are still smoking in an inappropriate area. 

See if you can think of ways to improve the PR campaign objective from before.  I’ll bet you learn something about writing good objectives.