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Project Management for R&D

Making your goal statement.


Directions making your Goal Statement


1. Use the iObeya brainstorming mode for each category beneath for 1-3 minutes. Each participant writes down statements or keywords within each category that they think is vital for the success of the project. One statement or keyword per sticky note.


Use the following four categories:

  • What? (always a noun, tangible things the project shall develop/deliver)

  • When? (finish date) or How much (maximum budget or cost/product)

  • Why? (values, steppingstones, or revenues)

  • How? (assets or limitations, stating the framework within which the project is to be carried out)

2. One person at a time presents all his/her notes and places them on the board in the right category. Change the color of the note depending on the category.

3. Get rid of all duplicates and move them to the trash bin. Work together and group similar notes and replace them with one note if possible. Be careful not to reduce nuances.

4. Each person gets to distribute a total of five votes (stickers). Place stickers (smallest size with your designated color) on the best statements/ keywords. At least one vote on one deliverable and one process parameter. The remaining three are free to be placed on any statement/keyword. Before you start, select a unique color for each participant, one person uses yellow, another green, etc.

5. Duplicate the notes with the most votes from each category and place them at the bottom of the board. If there is a tie between two or more statements/keywords in any category, ask each person to distribute one extra sticker (vote) on just these statements/keywords. Repeat if necessary. When you are ready you should have one red, one green, one orange, and one yellow note at the bottom of the board.

6. Try to formulate a sentence using the four statements. Suggestion syntax:

(How?) we shall (Why?) by (What?) before (When?)


First, type "we shall", "by" and "before" on separate grey notes.


Place the notes in the following order:

  1. Green ( how)

  2. Grey (we shall)

  3. Yellow (why)

  4. Grey (by)

  5. Orange (what)

  6. Grey (before)

  7. Red (when)



(Based on the SPD patent) we shall (secure technical leadership) by (producing a VDT-prototype) before (August 15, 2021).

Read and fine-tune the wording on the different notes. If it doesn’t sound great, place the (How?) (Why?) (What?) (When?)  in a different order and glue it together to a complete statement.

7. Get the core team, steering committee, and sponsor to confirm that this is what we shall do. Preferably everybody should sign off the Goal statement. You can do that by asking each person to place their team sticker on the goal statement.

9. Write down the goal statement on a standard note (biggest size) and place it in the Exchange zone.

10. Go to the Project Definition board and fetch the Goal statement from the Exchange zone and place it on the board at the designated place.


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