Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category

We all set goals to our self or at work. But is your goal attainable, ethical, measurable.. at least relevant? Have you checked such terms before putting down the action steps.

Before going to the action steps, lets put the filter and validate our goal.

SMART / SMARTER is a mnemonic to guide people when they set objectives, often called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), for example for project management, employee performance management and personal development. The letters broadly conform to the words Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive with the addition of the words Evaluate and Reevaluate used in more recent literature.

Sources: Wikipedia

Letter Major Term Minor Terms
S Specific Significant, Stretching, Simple
M Meaningful, Motivational, Manageable, Measurable
A Attainable Appropriate, Achievable, Agreed, Assignable, Actionable, Adjustable, Ambitious, Aligned, Aspirational, Acceptable, Action-focused
R Relevant Result-Based, Results-oriented, Resourced, Resonant, Realistic
T Timely Time-oriented, Time framed, Timed, Time-based, Timeboxed, Time-bound, Time-Specific, Timetabled, Time limited, Trackable, Tangible
E Evaluate Ethical, Excitable, Enjoyable, Engaging, Ecological
R Reevaluate Rewarded, Reassess, Revisit, Recordable, Rewarding, Reaching
S Satisfactory Satisfies Strategic Vision

Once we get a helicopter view of the project, we start calculating the budget. Engineers are not really good at numbers and budget. Here are the list of items that should be taken into consideration.

To determine project costs, give a thought on the following categories

Personnel:  This is typically largest part of the budget. They can be current employees, contract employees.

Travel:  Its based on whether your employees are onsite or they have to be brought to location.

Training:  I would advice people to look at training as a investment and spend wisely. If training involves guest lectures or support, they also need to be calculated.

Supplies: In addition to pen, paper, Is there any special equipment that you need. It could be even computers.

Office Space: How much room is required and at what cost?

Research: Do you have to buy studies or data to support your project? Is your team capable of performing research. If yes at what cost.

Capital Expenditures: What is the expensive equipment or upgrades that would be necessary. It would be great if the capital expenditure can pay for themselves.

Overhead: It includes your projected overhead expense. So this would help you to fix Standard Overhead percentage.

Other Costs:

Maintenance, Insurance, Licensing, Legal, Accounting


A budget no matter how carefully planned is still your best guess.

Fully fund a project or do not start it

— Norman R Augustine