For a project to be useful, effective and achieving its full objective, it needs to be clearly defined. For this purpose, five key characteristics of a project are defined as:
1) Specific: The project needs to be specific. This includes detailing out the project's structure, goals, benefits, milestones and costs. This requires careful planning and inputs of the entire team. Detailed reporting and planning including command structure, timing charts, responsibility details, timelines, costs and work to be performed by each of the team's members.
2) Measurable: A project needs to be measurable in terms of its benefits and achievements. This is not only in terms of the monetarty benefits but also other tangible and intangible benefits derived from the project's execution. A clear and precise plan devised during the project's planning stage will help in objectively measuring the project's achievements.
3) Achievable: A project is useful only if its achievable. If its too ambitious in planning for the project, it may be not be achievable thus leading to costs being overrun and timing delayed or affected.
4) Relevant: The benefits to the firm need to be relevant. This may be in the form of some tangible benefit to the firm like reducing costs, increasing productivity etc. If such an objective is not met, then the project is not justifiable for the firm.
5) Timebound: This ensures that the project has clearly defined timescales. This means that there is a timeframe to complete the planning, development, execution before it can be called complete.