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What is MOST and What is GOSPA? | Video

What is MOST and What is GOSPA? | Video

I often find simple, hierarchical frameworks to be good thinking tools and mental models to help me understand and describe a situation. So, what is MOST and what is GOSPA?

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What is MOST?

MOST Analysis is a business tool for setting Strategic Direction.

MOST stands for:

  • Mission (or mission statement)
  • Objectives
  • Strategies
  • Tactics.

You can use MOST analysis to analyze an organization’s internal environment and transform a woolly vision and set of ambitions into realistic, achievable goals.

MOST analysis can create clear targets for each member of a team. At its core, it helps you ask the question, “how does this help us get to the next level?”

This helps you keep your strategies relevant, accountable, and focused on the goals that matter most. You can use MOST analysis not just at the enterprise level, but to further in delivering functional results, for example in marketing, sales, operations, and human resources. And, of course, it works at the project level too.


What your organization or project is there to achieve. Your purpose and reason for being there. So, if you don’t have one, craft a mission statement.


These are what you can measure your success against. Usually, they register success against your goal or mission.


Medium to long-term approaches to achieving your objectives. Strategies change to accommodate external changes.


Short-term activities within the broad parameters set by your strategies. for furthering your progress towards your objectives. Tactics can change far more quickly than strategies, to accommodate immediate problems, challenges, or opportunities.

What is GOSPA?

GOSPA is similar to MOST, but is more clearly project-oriented. It stands for:

  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Plan
  • Activities (or Actions)

GOSPA is a hierarchy that covers project definition, tailoring, planning, and delivery.


Articulates the aim of your project and answers the question ‘what do you want?’ as posed to your sponsor and key stakeholders.


Objectives set out the basis for assessing success. They answer the question ‘how do you want it?’ in terms of functionality, quality, cost, and schedule. 

It’s often helpful to make SMART objectives that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Agreed (by the parties)
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound


I think of this as about choosing the right development approach, life cycle, and contracting method to best secure an effective project. What frameworks, tools, and methodologies will you draw from.


This is the project planning process that draws together scoping, scheduling, resourcing, budgeting, quality management, and other factors.


Finally, here are the detailed tasks that you need to get done, to deliver your project. 

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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