Lecture 4. Project goals
The right way to set goals is one of the key moments for a project.

The shorter and the more precise the goal is, the wiser and in a more proper manner you will be able to identify the ways to achieve it. One more important aspect: you have to understand what exact problem your project is solving. There is a rather simple and convenient tool for that – problem tree analysis and the decision tree.

The core of the problem tree is that main problem the project, according to your understanding, should solve.

Then the tree has two levels: the higher and the lower one. The higher level is all the negative consequences of your key problem. To identify them you have to answer the question: "What negative effects does this problem have and what would be the consequences if it continues to exist?".

The lower level is all the underlying causes. Answer the question: "Why does the problem exist and what was the cause of it?" Make sure you keep the level of consequences and causes intact so that you clearly see the hierarchy.

You can ask the same question to each of the given causes: "What led thereto, why does this cause exist?". In this way, your tree will grow a plethora of causes and under-causes. You can pin down as many of them, as you believe reasonable, just the same as with the consequences.

For instance, let's take a problem: a lot of waste in the city. The possible consequences: damage to flora and fauna, contamination of water reservoirs, deterioration of ecological state of the city. Possible causes: people throw away wastes in places not designed for that; communal utility services work poorly; there is no recycling facilities.

With the problem tree ready, you can transform it into a decision tree: the problem, consequences and causes are symmetrically reversed into positive statements: goals, effects and tasks.

For example, the problem of "a lot of waste in the city N" transforms into a goal "to decrease the volume of waste in the city N by Х%".

Negative consequences we reverse into a positive effect, that will reveal itself when the problem starts to be solving: we had "contaminated water reservoirs", then got "clean water reservoirs". The causes of a problem become goals: people throw away their wastes in the places designed therefor; communal utility services operate in an efficient way etc.

The problem tree and decision tree allows to look at the problem, your project is set to solve, from an integrated perspective and to choose the solution that suites your circumstances as much as possible. Every separate goal branch can become yet another project. For instance, you decided to work only with urban population educating them in the field of recycling and separate waste collection etc. The second option would be to focus your project work on utility services. The possibility to choose such options is known as project alternatives.

Share with friends