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Workplans: A Program Management Tool
Program Planning: Objectives

Objectives state the "big steps" a program will take to attain its goal. They can be used to determine a program's status at any time, and can be measured during the project period.

Objectives answer the question:
"What steps must be completed to accomplish our goal?"

They should not include more than one expectation each.

Objectives should be S.M.A.R.T. That is—

  • Specific (identify who, what, where, and how);
  • Measurable (identify how many);
  • Achievable (can be attained);
  • Realistic (can be attained given time and resources available); and
  • Timeframed (identify when).

Within this framework, each objective should be written using precise terms that do not leave room for misinterpretation. Objectives delineate how a goal will be achieved. They should include action verbs. The following list provides action verbs you can use when developing objectives for your workplan.

Sample Action Verbs
Inform
Discuss
List
Compare
State
Differentiate
Classify
Plan
Use
Create
Choose
Match
Indicate
Determine
Explain
Categorize
Illustrate
Prepare
Identify
Diagram
Contrast
Select
Summarize
Apply
Develop
Demonstrate
Write
Define
Present
Increase
Perform
Collect
Revise
Show
Name
Document

Let's take another look at our sample goal and measure of success.

Goal: Increase the number of women screened for cervical cancer.

Measure of Success: Five thousand Pap tests will be performed this year, an increase of 1,000 over last year.

What are some steps we can take toward accomplishing the goal, keeping in mind the measure of success?

  1. Develop outreach strategies to underserved women.
  2. Create or enhance health services for women in their communities.
  3. Team with the local health department to locate eligible women.

Now, let's take one of these steps and develop an objective.

Using Step 1, "Develop outreach strategies to underserved women," let's create an objective using S.M.A.R.T.

Objective: Within 12 months, through teaming with the local health department, the public education coordinator and outreach workers will recruit at least 500 women to enroll in cervical cancer screening in the tri-city area.

To assess whether this objective is appropriate given the case study, ask the following questions:

  • Is the objective specific? That is, does it state—
    • who
    • will do what
    • where
    • how?
  • Is the objective measurable? That is, does it state how many?
  • Is the objective achievable?
  • Is the objective realistic? That is, can it be attained within the specified time period using available technology and resources?
  • Is the objective timeframed? That is, does it state when?
  • Is the objective related to the goal?
  • Is the objective supported by data and theory?

This objective appears to meet all of the criteria and is appropriate given what we know from the case study. Remember, this is only one objective among several that support our goal.

 

Exercise—Objectives

Instructions: Please review each of the following objectives and choose whether you think it is an appropriate objective.

Question 1. Within the next six months, conduct six workshops and distribute four press releases publicizing these workshops.

Yes
No

Question 2. The outreach coordinator will distribute four press releases publicizing the "Healthy Woman" workshops in counties X, Y, and Z within the next six months.

Yes
No

Question 3. The public education coordinator will coordinate workshops for women at the Latino Community Center in Pueblo County.

Yes
No

Question 4. Next year, through combined local health department outreach activities in the tri-city area, the public education coordinator and outreach workers will enroll 500 more women for cervical cancer screening than last year.

Yes
No

Next, we'll learn about activities.

 

Previous Page: Measures of Success Next Page: Activities

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