The PPPM Roadmap Components: Goals

Project/Program Portfolio Management (PPPM)
By PH Lohnes, PMP

This will be a short post about the importance of setting the right goals for each of the PPPM roadmap periods which you have designed to implement your PPPM vision. First there is a concept going around that goals should be SMART, SMARTER or something similar. If you are not familiar with the acronym SMART, I would suggest that you look it up on the Wikipedia web site. However, be careful, while the definitions of the acronyms is defined correctly, the web site posting is confused and does exactly what was discussed in a previous post about mixing up the differences between goals and objectives. The web site begins speaking about setting SMART objectives and then in a subsequent paragraph it fluidly begins discussing SMART goals as if goals and objectives are the same thing.

As we know, goals and objectives are different in their makeup and application, and thus posses different levels of these characteristics. While it appears that the SMART characteristics can apply to both, the application of these is best applied towards goals and not objectives. The reasoning behind this is that goals are horizons and thus need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant (I use the term realistic), and timely. Objectives must, by their very nature of being the “how to obtain a goal,” are already SMART since one cannot express the how of an accomplishment without many of these characteristics. It is the definition of SMART goals that alludes many organizations.

There are other “googlized” searches on goals and objectives where many say that goals cannot be measured or are not to be specific. Goals need to be SMART or they are of little value. Many times I have had to discuss this point with the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) members of my clients when I find their goals to be such trivia such as:

  • We want to the best in category,
  • We want to beat our competition,
  • We want to increase market share,
  • We want to be more profitable,
  • We want to have more clients,
  • We want……

you get the picture. These goals are simply mush and fluff. Goal setting by those that are successful are specific. For example, setting a goal to be in Vienna, Austria is not mushy or fluff. It is very specific, it can be measured since one would know if they are in Vienna or not. It is attainable, realistic, and by the setting of a time frame, can be timely. So please excuse the mush that passes for knowledge on the Internet sites, and think about the value of setting SMART goals versus the mushy and fluffy ones you have probably seen being passed off as viable goals.

Without goals for each period of the PPPM roadmap, the PPPM vision has very little chance of being successfully implemented. It is the goals of each period that when paired with the period’s other components that breaks the overall vision into obtainable “chucks of action.” Each period’s goals should be also compared in one other characteristic: compatibility. The goals of each period must provide a link from one to the other and without being compatible, this is not possible.

We have finally completed the entire discussion of the PPPM roadmap components for implementing your organization’s PPPM vision. We will “gift wrap” the concepts in the next post by detailing all the linkages between the roadmap components.


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