A project has a beginning and an end, but without an objective, it’s a rudderless ship. In order to steer your project successfully and land in a safe harbor, you’re going to have to define your project objectives.
What Are Project Objectives?
Project objectives define the critical steps that must be taken to successfully execute a project plan. Project objectives can be tangible deliverables or intangible milestones, but they should always be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound) and related to your broader project goals.
Project objectives allow you to communicate with your team and outline what individuals are responsible for what objectives to better meet stakeholder quality expectations. Your objectives should contain KPI metrics such as budget, quality and how long it takes to finish the project.
To keep track of project objectives, you’ll need a robust project management tool such as ProjectManager. ProjectManager is project management software that offers professional project tracking tools such as Gantt charts, task lists, calendars and real-time dashboards. ProjectManager allows you to track, manage and control project objectives with ease. Get started for free.
Before we learn how to write project objectives, we need to define terms. Many confuse the concept of project objectives with related project management concepts such as project goals, deliverables and milestones.
Project Objectives vs. Project Goals
Project goals are high-level statements that can be somewhat vague. They do, however, provide overall context for what the project is set to achieve and how it aligns with business goals.
There are different types of project goals such as performance goals, time goals (referring to start and end dates) and resource goals. These three types of project goals compete with one another so a variable with one will impact the others.
Objectives are much more specific and straightforward as they influence every decision in the project. Project objectives can also be defined as the steps that need to be taken to achieve the high-level view of project goals.
Project Objectives vs. Project Milestones
Project milestones mark an important point in time in your project, often marking the beginning of a new project phase. There can be as many milestones in your project plan as you see fit. They’re beneficial as they break down your project plan into more digestible parts.
Project Objectives vs. Project Deliverables
Project deliverables are the outputs from your project activities. There can be as many project deliverables as you need in your project. Project deliverables take many forms, such as a product, service or even a finished infrastructure project.
Why Are Project Objectives Important?
Undoubtedly, effective objectives are important. The clearer your project objectives, the more likely they are to be achieved. Plus, your project will be that much easier to manage.
Objectives are crucial as they offer a way to structure the project and validate its success. Think of these objectives as the guidelines that your project must follow. They steer you through every aspect of the project and its phases. They offer project managers measurable targets to hit and make teams understand what’s expected of them.
How to Write SMART Project Objectives
Each project objective needs to meet the SMART criteria. This acronym will guide you to effective objectives.
How? By making sure each objective is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
That means defining the objective and making sure that there’s a metric to measure its progress so you can tell if it’s meeting your baseline expectations.
Your project objectives must be achievable or they’ll be impossible to reach, resulting in wasted time and resources. Make sure to be realistic with your objectives and ensure they are relevant to both the project and the organizational strategy of the business.
Lastly, your objective must have a deadline through a time constraint; it can’t be open-ended. It could be time-bound by months, weeks or days depending on the specifics of your project.
Project Objectives Examples
1. Customer Satisfaction
Project Goal: Increase the overall satisfaction level for customers by submitting support tickets through the website.
Project Objective: Implement a new online ticketing system by a certain date to achieve ticket response times of no more than an hour
Now, run it through SMART: is it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound? If it meets these criteria, then it’s a SMART project objective.
In terms of the goal, how will it be reflected in performance, time and resources? You’ll also want to consider if this goal is in alignment with the corporate strategy.
2. New Product
Project Goal: Create a new product to be launched at the beginning of next quarter such as a pair of shoes.
Project Objectives: In this case, there are several project objectives related to that goal. Here are some project objectives examples.
- Conduct market research about the preferences of your target market
- Develop a product vision
- Create a prototype of the final product
- Test it for performance with athlete focus groups
- Create the final version of the product
Project Goal: Increase sales by 30 percent in the next quarter.
Project Objectives: In this case, there are several project objectives related to the goal. Here are some project objectives examples.
- Use new strategies to increase leads from the marketing team by 10 percent
- Hire two new sales representatives
- Launch a loyalty rewards program
- Open one new distribution channel by the beginning of next quarter
ProjectManager for Better Project Objectives
If you’re looking to define and achieve your project objectives, you need a dynamic project management tool. ProjectManager is work and project management software that tracks your objectives and goals with real-time metrics on our dashboard. With our software, SMART goals are easy to establish, track and achieve.
Filter reports to show the data you want and generated shareable reports for stakeholders with just one click. Utilize our resource management tools to balance your workload and keep the project on track. Our online Gantt charts schedule over a timeline and can be easily edited by dragging and dropping start and due dates.
More About Project Objectives
What is your project about? The project objective states this before the project initiation. It will be a document you return to over and over again in the project in order to stay the course. This is true whether you’re working waterfall or within an agile framework.
The project objective is essential as it’s designed to help your team, the stakeholder (especially as they request changes) and the project manager. If you want that project objective to be as effective as possible, watch this short video by our resident project management expert, Jennifer Bridges, PMP.
Here’s a screenshot for your reference.
Pro Tip: Don’t neglect business objectives. If the objective of the project isn’t aligned with the company strategy, then it’s not going to be effective.
Thanks for watching!
Today, we’re talking about how to write effective project objectives every time. Well, I find sometimes people struggle with writing objectives because they get them confused with goals and even the vision. So I wanna start by clarifying what each one of these terms means.
So the vision statement is the highest level statement. What it’s doing, it’s showing direction and aspiration. It may or may not even be achieved, but the goals are, they’re more vague, but they’re still high level, they provide the overall context for what the project is to achieve and aligns with the business goals.
The objectives are a lower level statement, they describe the desired result of the project and they describe specific tangible products and deliverables that the project will deliver. So the goals are more vague and the objectives are a little bit more specific.
So why do we care about effective objectives?
Well, managing a project calls for clear objectives. The more clear you can get your objectives, then the more likely you are to achieve them. So they’re used to structure the project and validate your success. So how do we make those objectives more effective?
Well, we use the SMART technique. So SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. So when we talk about projects and we talk about goals and objectives, Here’s an example.
So if a goal for a project could be to increase the overall satisfaction of customers submitting support tickets through the website, that would be the overall goal of the project.
So one specific objective would be to implement a new online ticketing system by August 1st to achieve ticket response times of no more than one hour. So let’s check it out. So is it SMART?
So it’s very specific, it tells you exactly what’s going to happen, by what time, and what results you’re going to gain. It’s also measurable. You can measure the ticket response times, and make sure they don’t exceed one hour.
They’re also achievable by using this ticketing system, they are able to be achieved and they’re realistic for your team. And also time-bound, you know you’re going to implement this by August 1st. So now you can see the difference between the goal and how the objective helps support that goal.