Clearly defined business goals are key to a successful project

In today’s blog, we will continue outlining the five steps of the ID-GEM framework to help you dive into how this free process can help drive your business. We’ve already covered the “I” – Identify Value – and the “D” – “Discovery Questions.” In this blog, we’ll be jumping headfirst into “G” or “Goal Creation.”

Before we begin, let’s quickly revisit the previous two steps. Identify Value is the process of defining the business need and the value that the project will provide. Step two – Discovery Questions – is the step where you ask yourself the tough questions about your project to help align all stakeholders on the priorities of  the project and helps to determine any complexities for the build you may have not considered. So with those two steps in mind, let’s move into Goal Creation.

Step three, Goal Creation, follows naturally from the targeted discovery questions in the last step, as those questions makes it easy to drill down into your business goals. In an earlier blog, we talked about identifying value. While creating business goals and identifying business value sound similar, they are, in fact different. For example, the business value of an app is to enable users to more quickly purchase your product, whereas the business goal of the app is to generate a certain percentage of revenue. It’s a micro and macro approach, in essence. In doing so, you can develop a deeper understanding of your business goals that may have not been possible without the detailed focus the discovery questions provide.

At this stage, it can be easy to confuse important features of your product with business goals. This often occurs because when you’re very close to a problem, it can be difficult to step back and get a high-level view of what the real issue or goal is. When you’ve been traipsing around in the woods, it’s sometimes hard to see the whole forest. But without a defined goal for your software project, there won’t be real value at the end, and there can be confusion between stakeholders about what the key objective was the whole time.

To help you better understand how to set well-defined business goals for your software programs, let’s look at a few examples of goals before and after. The before version will be how an incomplete or non-descriptive goal looks – while the after will give you an idea of what a well-defined business goal looks like that will help focus your software project and align your team members.

Take, for example, the goal of “I hate my current vendor and want to switch.” That doesn’t really sound like a goal at all, does it? But you’ll be surprised how often that is cited as the objective for a software project. However, it is important to identify and call out the business reason that corresponds to that opinion. Once reworked, the goal might be: “I want to scale my business from 200 million in revenue to 400 million in revenue and I need an application that matches my business processes and enables me to get the most out of my people.” Now your goal includes the underlying reason why you don’t like your current vendor – the implied fact that your current vendor does not align with your business objectives and can’t help you get from point A (200 million in revenue) to point B (400 million in revenue).

For a our second example, another “popular” goal, consider this statement: “I want to make money.” Well, first off all – of course you do! But more importantly, this goal lacks specificity and direction. How much money? And how do you propose to do that? To add clarifying ingredients to this goal, consider this statement instead: “I want to have 1 million in sales by Q4 2016.  This will be achieved through a subscription based revenue.” Now we’re talking! By taking the previously determined business value and understanding of how to use that value to meet your business goals, you’ve given not only a clear amount (1 million in sales), but also defined a timeline (achieved by Q4 2016) and a strategy (through user subscriptions). Now that’s a nicely defined goal.

You can see how specific, well-framed, and actionable goals can help align your team and keep your project focused as it moves from beginning, middle, and end. Again, having defined strategic discovery questions is instrumental for the process of defining business goals for your team. That is one of the great benefits of the ID-GEM framework – each step is compounding. As you move further through the process, you help better support your project for maximum value and efficiency. In the next blog we will dive into step 4 – “E” for “Evaluate Outcomes.”  To learn more about ID-GEM, please visit:(