Dear PM Advisor. Mar 10, 2014

Dear PM Advisor, I want to create a Project Objective using the rules you teach but you ask us to use one date and we need to have three dates: The key milestone, the release date and the date 90 days after release that indicates the real project end date. What do you suggest we do? 

Torn in Portland, OR

Dear Torn,

I do suggest that a Project Objective have one date in it. In facilitating over 300 Rapid Project Start ups, I've only violated this rule twice, where there was an initial start up date followed by a the full move to production. But in your case it is not necessary. Let's look at your three dates:

  1. Key milestone prior to release. This is important and should be reflected in the Schedule as a key milestone but it does not belong in the Project Objective. The Objective is the Headline of the project. Headlines should emphasize What we are doing, When and for How Much.
  2. Release Date. This is the date that management wants to focus on. This date belongs in the Objective.
  3. End of the project after 90 days in the market. This is an important date to know and to emphasize to your team that they are not released until this date. Following the truism that 90% of the problems appear within 90 days of market release, we need the team members to stay engaged on the project until they have a chance to resolve all these problems. Put this date on your schedule and hold your team there until this date. Don't put it in the Objective.
So you can get away with just using the release date on the Objective for your project.
Good luck,
PM Advisor
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