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Goal-seeking vs. goal-oriented projects

Knowledge about goal-seeking and goal-oriented approaches as basis for understanding different aspects of project success/failure.
© Luleå University of Technology

Different types of projects (for example within construction, ICT and organizational change) imply that the project can be either goal-orientated or goal-seeking.

Goal-oriented projects have a focus on problem-solving and goals can be SMART-formulated early in the project.

Goal-seeking projects initially have a focus on problem understanding and structuring, and SMART-formulated goals are not possible to state.

Examples of goal-oriented projects

Construction projects and climbing expeditions are examples of goal-oriented projects. In these kinds of projects it is relatively easy to formulate SMART-goals, since different stakeholders usually have a common view of what to achieve in the project.

Examples of goal-seeking projects

IT-projects and organizational change projects (e.g. changing ways of working, processes, etc.) are examples of goal-seeking projects. In these kind of projects it is difficult to early formulate SMART-goals, since it is difficult to understand specific needs from client/customer and other stakeholders. For example how to design a new IT-system, or how a new way of working in an organization, are both something that have to be explored during the project over time. Hence, these kind of projects usually formulate a vision or an overall direction. Over time, in a goal-seeking project we generally try to become more goal-oriented.

© Luleå University of Technology
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