When starting a project, having a plan is one of the best ways to ensure success. One way to plan effectively is by implementing project objectives.
Also thought of as shorter-term, more tangible goals, project objectives come in various types and can be written in different ways to match your business needs. This article will cover what exactly project objectives are, how to write them, and provide examples to get you started.
What are Project Objectives?
It describes the desired results of your project. In many cases, this includes a tangible item that can show or represent the completion of the project (more revenue, new customers, increased sales, new products, etc.).
These are usually measurable due to their specifics: deadline, budget, details, and quality constraints. In other words, you have a certain window to work in to produce your desired outcome (project objective).
Whether it’s a project for your business, personal use, or even one on a grander scale like for government use, project objectives help keep things straight, organized, and linear.
Knowing the different objective types will help you determine which one is best for you and your needs, further ensuring meeting those objectives and seeing success.
Project Objective Types
There are six main types of project objectives that cater to a specific element of a project. These different types make it easy to divide the work between a person or organization so that projects can be worked on in an “assembly line” fashion. When one step is finished in a set timeframe, the project can move onto the next step.
Each of the project objective types helps the overall project come together in the end as a cohesive result, and understanding the types helps you know which parameters you need and which you don’t.
The top project objective types are:
- Quality Objectives
- Technical Objectives
- Financial Objectives
- Performance Objectives
- Business Objectives
- Compliance Objectives
Here's the background on each project type.
Quality objectives include planning out the cost of training, preventative measures against poor quality, and safety measures. In other words, quality objectives bring your project and its result up to the standard of your business, the market, federal guidelines, or all three.
If you forgo quality objectives, it means you’re at risk of dealing with the cost of nonconformance, which can be incredibly high: loss of customers, loss of workers, loss of materials, and loss of time.
Tech comes in many forms: software, hardware, networks, machines, mobile devices, and more. Since many companies and individuals already have some tech they’re using, technical objectives are about ensuring your tech is up to standard.
This means either upgrading tech that no longer works or testing tech to ensure it can handle your business’ needs.
Financial objectives are those that help you figure out your project’s budget. Spending more than what you planned can ruin the project and hurt your business, so it’s important to measure and stick to your financial parameters. These may include saving money, making money, avoiding extra costs, or strictly staying on budget.
These objectives are pretty straightforward. Performance objectives outline what you want the project to accomplish: improved products and services? Better processes? More accessibility?
These objectives can be related to how the project will run, what the project will do, and what the project is meant to accomplish (and how well it accomplishes it). Basically, how well do you want your project and its result to work?
Business objectives are important project objectives because they drive your project and business. These must be clearly defined as they highlight a necessary value for your business and the project itself.
With this in mind, business objectives may be opening (or closing) an office or branch; launching a new product, service, or idea; bringing in new talent; or anything else that is directly impacted by final project delivery.
Compliance objectives are important because they ensure that the result of your project works with the standards, rules, regulations, or requirements of something in any given industry. Your project is up to code, following laws, or meeting health and safety standards according to your industry or location.
How to Write Objectives of a Project
When writing project objectives, the goal is to be as clear as possible. You want to have as little error and as much success as you can make. To get started, keep these five objective elements in mind, also known as SMART:
When you write a project objective, you’re simply writing what you want or need this project to do as clearly as you possibly can. The best way to do this is to start at the start and measure your needs against these five elements.
Is the objective measurable? Will you have a way to tell if the objective results in the outcome you want? Is the project realistic? We all have an idea of what we want a project, product, or service to do or be like, but is the result something you and your team can actually deliver?
This also means that your objective is achievable. Something can be realistic but not necessarily achievable due to lack of resources, time, and tools, which leads us to whether or not your objective is specific. You can’t have a vague idea of what you want. You have to create brief but clear guiding statements for optimal outcomes.
Finally, can the objective work in the time frame allotted? Is there too much or too little work to be done in the amount of time you have? You want to ensure that you have enough time to deliver what your objective requires for a successful result.
Project Objectives Example
It takes time to really get into the rhythm of writing project objectives, but that’s expected. To help you out before you take your first go, here’s an example of a good and bad project objective:
Launch a new landing page for product X.
Why It’s Bad:
This project objective is too vague. It’s missing the elements of specificity and time allotment. To make this a useful objective, it should look more like this:
Create a new landing page for product X with fresh copy, a call to action, and examples of how product X is used and why it’s necessary. Include focus group cases and results. Quality-check the new page within two weeks for launch at the end of August.
Why It’s Good:
This project objective is clear, concise, and helpfully specific. It’s measurable, achievable, and realistic, telling you the specifics that are needed while also giving you a time frame to work within.
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