In developing Mingle Plus and its program management feature, we received a lot of questions about objectives, especially about how to name them. While there is no right or wrong answer, we recommend objectives be identified by the value they deliver to the customer and the business. They should paint the big picture illustrating why you’re building what you’re building. We believe this type of naming will help keep value and purpose at the forefront of your program and guide conversations to focus on their delivery.
When determining meaningful objectives names, consider thinking about answers to the following questions:
- What are you marketing or promoting to your customers or stakeholders?
- What will your work allow customers to accomplish? How will it improve their lives?
- What problem is your work solving? What value is it delivering?
You might also consider naming your objectives to reflect the functionality they’ll deliver to users. Such “functional nomenclature” can help orient your efforts around delivering functionality and allow teams to gain a better understanding of how they’re contributing to that delivery, much in the same way that Martin Fowler explains how a functional staff organization (vs. a technical staff organization) helps align teams to the delivery of business value.
Some Sample Objective Names
To help illustrate suggested naming, we’ve thought of some hypothetical examples of objectives for a program to launch a new retail model.
Here are some objective names that might suggest what business value is being delivered and possibly why:
- "Universal access"
- "Real-time promotions"
- "Personal shopper/stylist
These names, on the other hand, focus more on what might be required to execute delivery rather than what is actually being delivered or why:
- "Tax module"
- "Inventory database"
- "Recommendation engine"
What might be other suggestions or guidelines for naming your objectives? What other objective names might be effective for our “New Retail Model”? We look forward to learning more about how you name your program objectives.
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