When people are in danger and need help, three letters are more important than any others: S-O-S. Even though some say that this universal distress signal stands for “save our ship” or “save our souls,” the letters actually don’t mean anything at all.

Why, then, did the Morse Code operators choose them? For a simple reason: the three short dots of the “S” followed by the three longer dashes of the “O” are the easiest sounds to recognize anywhere in the world. As your team prepares for a new project, take some inspiration from the Morse Code operators. In times of pressure and crisis, simplicity and understandability are most important.

Remember that clearly defining your project’s goals and purpose will be critical to your team’s successful execution. If the project description is too vague, soon your team will be sending an SOS of its own because they won’t understand the project’s overall objectives.

Get very focused about your project’s purpose so that everything becomes actionable. Leave nothing to uncertainty. Create the necessary clarity for your team by asking (and answering) three critical questions at the outset: 1.) Who is this for? 2.) What are you doing? 3.) Why are you doing this?

Key Takeaways

  • Be very descriptive and clear about a project’s goals
  • Help your team understand how their tasks support the overall project
  • Use precise, descriptive language so that your team won’t be unclear about expectations
  • Make everything actionable and more measurable
  • Use words that reflect action when describing a task


Learn more about our project management methodology.