You finished your project, now what?
If you don’t have a system in place to know what your project objectives are, you don’t have an easy way to know: Did your project succeed? Did you hit your goals? Or did you miss your target?
Crafting a project objective isn’t hard, but you have to make sure it’s a measurable, helpful way to evaluate project success. This guide will help you get started with project objectives and supercharge your project management skills.
What are project objectives?
Project objectives are what you plan to achieve by the end of your project. This might include deliverables and assets, or more intangible objectives like increasing productivity or motivation. Your project objectives should be attainable, time-bound, specific goals you can measure at the end of your project.
Create an action plan template
Project objectives are a critical element ofproject management—without them, you don’t have a succinct way to communicate your goals before and during the project, nor do you have a measurable way to evaluate your success after the project ends.
If you’re just getting started with project objectives, here’s how they differ from other project management elements:
Project objectives vs. project goals
Though some teams may use these interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between project goals vs. objectives. In general, project goals are higher-level than project objectives. Your project goals should outline what happens once your project is successful, and how your project aligns with overall business objectives.
Project objectives, on the other hand, are more detailed and specific than project goals. Though many project objectives may impact business objectives, your project objectives are more focused on your actual, specific deliverables at the end of the project.
Example of a project objective:Add five new ways for customers to find the feedback form in-product within the next two months.
Example of a project goal:Make it easier for the engineering team to receive and respond to customer feedback.
Project objectives vs. business objectives
Project objectives are just that—objectives and performance indicators for individual projects. Your project objectives should apply to the project they’re about, and they should be specific enough to guide your team in evaluating project success.
Business objectives are bigger than a single project. Unlike project objectives, your business objectives will fuel your business trajectory and velocity. Your business objectives should be long-term guidelines for your entire company or department. They will guide your company goals for a quarter or year, and they should be written in whatever goal-setting methodology your team uses, likeobjectives and key results (OKRs).
Example of a project objective:Increase our company Net Promoter Score (NPS) to 62 by the end of the quarter.
Example of a business objective:Become the premier service provider in our category.
Project objectives vs. project plan
Your project plan is a blueprint of the key elements your team needs to accomplish in order to successfully achieve your project goals and objectives. However, your project plan should include several additional key elements, like your project stakeholders, deliverables, timeline, and more.
Plan to create your project objectives before working on your project plan, since your objectives will likely drive other elements of your project plan, like deliverables and success metrics. But once your project objectives are written, you’ll likely share them with stakeholders by way of the project plan.
Example of a project objective:Increase click through rate (CTR) engagement on email by 10% by the end of Q3.
Example of a project plan:See an example plan in ourguide to project planning.
Project objectives vs. project milestones
At first glance, “objectives” and “milestones” sound like the same thing—they’re both targets within a project. But project milestones, in general, should be smaller in scope than project objectives.
Aproject milestoneis a checkpoint that marks a specific achievement in your project timeline. Milestones themselves don’t represent work—rather, they record the accomplishment of a group of tasks or deliverables. While project milestones are important, your project objectives encompass your whole project.
Example of a project objective:Obtain 20,000 RSVPs to our virtual event before the closing date for signups (June 23rd).
Example of a project milestone:June 8th, 2021: Web page promotion upcoming virtual event goes live.
Project objectives vs. project deliverables
Project deliverablesare the assets you want to have at the end of your project—in a marketing campaign, for example, a deliverable could be a new ad or a web page. In general, your project objectives will define what your deliverables are—but your objectives should also be broader than your deliverables.
In addition to capturing deliverables, your project objectives will also define the benefits and outcomes to come from those deliverables, especially as they relate to the grander scheme of your project goals and business objectives.
Example of a project objective:Reduce monthly customer churn to >1% before the end of the year.
Example of a deliverable:Launch winback campaign for all lapsed customers.
The benefits of project objectives
A clear project objective helps you know where you’re going with your project. Without a project objective, you don’t have an easy way to know if your project succeeded or failed—nor can you plan improvements for the next project you work on.
When team members don’t have a clear sense of how their work fits into the larger project and company goals, they’re less motivated and less engaged. According to theAsana Goals Report, only 26% of knowledge workers have a clear understanding of how their individual work contributes toward company goals. Granted, your project objectives aren’t company goals—but they’re the middle step that connects individual work to your project work to your company goals.
So when you have clearly-defined project objectives, your team members can consistently evaluate their work and refocus on the objectives if they’ve gotten misaligned. Think of your objectives as a compass to help your team continue moving in the right direction.
Create an action plan template
5 tips to write great project objectives
The secret to writing great project objectives is to create objectives that are clearly written and helpful. You can do this by using the SMART methodology, which stands for:
Realistic(Video) How to prepare your Asana account for 2023
For a full walkthrough of this methodology, read our article to learn how to write better SMART goals.
1. Set your project objectives at the beginning of your project
In order for your objectives to guide the results of the project, you need to set them at the beginning and use them to guide your project. As we mentioned earlier, your project objectives are a key element of yourproject plan, which you should also create at the beginning of your project.
2. Involve your project team in the goal-setting process
The more buy-in you get, the more successful your project objectives will be. Your stakeholders need to have a clear understanding of the objectives of the project, so they can approach the rest of your project plan and the work that happens during the project most effectively.
3. Create brief, but clear, project objective statements
If this is your first time writing a project objective, you may be tempted to outline every detail—but try to keep your project objective short if you can. Think of it as a statement to guide the results of your project—your project objective statement should be about one to two sentences long. The additional information, like your project budget or stakeholders, will be captured in your project plan.
4. Make sure your objectives are things you can control
This is where the SMART acronym comes in to play to help you create clearly-defined, realistic, and controllable project objectives. There are five elements to this framework:
Specific.Make sure your project objective statement clearly covers the project your team is currently working on. Avoid writing overly broad project objectives that don’t directly connect to the result of the project.
Measurable.At the end of your project, you need a way to clearly look back and determine if your project was a success. Make sure your project objectives are clearly measurable things—like percentage change or a specific number of assets.
Achievable.Are your project objectives something you can reasonably hope to achieve within your project? this is connected to your project scope—if your project scope is unrealistic, your project objectives likely will be, too. Without Achievable project goals, your project may suffer fromscope creep, delays, or overwork.
Realistic.When you’re creating your project objectives, you should have a general sense of yourproject resources. Make sure your objectives are something you can achieve within the time frame and with the resources you have available for this project.
Time-bound.Your project objectives should take into account how long your project timeline is. Make sure you factor in the time you have available to work on your project.
5. Check in on your project objectives during the project’s lifecycle
Employees who understand how their individual work adds value to their organization are2X as motivated. In order to keep your team aligned and motivated, make sure to check in and update them on your project objectives frequently. In yourproject status reports, include a section that connects back to your project objectives. Share whether your current project is on track, at risk, or off track. That way, your project team can recalibrate if necessary and move forward in a way that best contributes to your project objectives.
Examples of good and bad project objectives
It’s not easy to write a project objective, and it’ll take time for you to get in the groove of writing these for your projects. That’s ok! Check out these three examples of good and bad objectives to help you write your own:
Example 1: Business project objective
Bad: Launch new home page.
This project objective is missing many important characteristics. Though this objective is measurable, achievable, and realistic, it’s not specific or time-bound. When should the home page be live? What should the redesign focus on?
Good: Create net-new home page assets and copy, focusing on four customer stories and use cases. Launch refreshed, customer-centric home page by the end of Q2.
This project objective is solid. It’s specific (create net-new home page assets and copy), measurable (launch refreshed, customer-centric home page), achievable and realistic (focusing on four customer stories and use cases), and time bound (by the end of Q2).
Example 2: Nonprofit project objective
Bad: Increase sustainability in our production process by 5%
Though this project objective is more specific than the previous bad example, it’s still lacking several important characteristics. This objective is measurable (by 5%), but it’s not specific or time-bound, since we don’t specify what “sustainability” means or by when the production process should improve. As a result, we don’t really know if it’s achievable or realistic.
Good: Reduce operational waste by 5% and increase use of recycled products by 20% in the next 12 weeks.
This project objective builds upon the previous one, because we now have a specific objective. This project objective also includes a way to measure the goal (by 5%... by 20%). The objective is a little ambitious, but the fact that it’s time-bound (in the next 12 weeks) makes it both achievable and realistic.
Example 3: Personal project objective
Bad: Improve performance reviews
Believe it or not, most personal project objectives aren’t specific or measurable. That’s because we have a hard time turning success metrics inwards, onto ourselves. But in order to know if we improved and achieved our personal goals, we need to create a clearer project objective.
Good: Get at least a 4/5 on both the March and September performance reviews in 2021.(Video) Asana Tutorial For Beginners 2023 (Step by Step) | How To Use Asana For Project Management
Here, we have a project objective that checks all of the right boxes: it’s specific (get at least a 4/5), measurable (4/5), achievable and realistic (4/5 gives us room for any unanticipated difficulties), and time-bound (in 2021).
Objectively speaking, project objectives are a good idea
Setting a project objective can help your team gain clarity, align on work, and get more work done. But remember: project objectives are just one part of your overall project plan. To learn more about how you can increase clarity and alignment during the project planning stage, read our guide towriting project plans.
Create an action plan template
What are the 3 project objectives? ›
Once it is clear that the project should deliver benefits, all projects have 3 objectives, Time, Cost and Quality (often called functionality or specification).What questions does a project objective answer what would be an example of a good project objective? ›
In general, Project Objectives answer the question HOW or What Kind (characteristics)? How we are going to do it?Which is a good SMART project objective statement? ›
SMART objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. To write SMART goals, consider the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specific to your business or project. Specific: Define your objectives clearly, in detail, leaving no room for misinterpretation.What is an example of an effective objective? ›
An example of an objective with a performance and conditions is: Given a bicycle and a flat street, the student will be able to ride the bike to the end and back. (The conditions that will influence the performance are the bike and the flat street.).Which is an example of a good objective? ›
General career objective examples
Seeking an entry-level position to begin my career in a high-level professional environment. To secure employment with a reputable company, where I can utilize my skills and business studies background to the maximum. Seeking a challenging career with an MNC.
- Cognitive objectives emphasize THINKING,
- Affective objectives emphasize FEELING and.
- Psychomotor objectives emphasize ACTING.
A project, regardless of its size, generally involves five distinctive project life cycle phases of equal importance: Initiation, Planning and Design, Construction and Execution, Monitoring and Control, Completion.What are major project objectives? ›
The main objective of project management is to achieve project goals and targets while keeping in mind the project scope, time, quality, and cost. It facilitates the project workflow with team collaboration on a single project.How do you write an objective for a project topic? ›
- Pinpoint the major focus of your research. ...
- Break down your research focus into research objectives. ...
- Write your research objectives in the SMART format. ...
- Keep your number of objectives limited. ...
- Use action verbs.
- Step 1: Review the Scope of the Project. ...
- Step 2: Evaluate the Project Specifications. ...
- Step 3: Analyze the Project Budget. ...
- Step 4: Review Client Satisfaction. ...
- Step 5: Review Internal Growth and Team Satisfaction.
What are the 7 smarter objectives? ›
The process of S.M.A.R.T.E.R goal-setting follows the acronym, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound, Evaluate, and Reward.What are the 5 SMART goals examples? ›
- Studying. Simple Goal: I need to study more. ...
- Writing. Simple Goal: ...
- Reading More Books. Simple Goal: ...
- Mastering Emotions. Simple Goal: ...
- Exercising More. Simple Goal: ...
- Improving Your Diet. Simple Goal: ...
- Becoming More Productive. Simple Goal: ...
- Time Management. Simple Goal:
A goal is an achievable outcome that is generally broad and longer term while an objective is shorter term and defines measurable actions to achieve an overall goal. While different, the two terms are often used in unison when working on a project. This is because both are essential to planning and executing a project.What are 3 things written objectives must contain? ›
- It should have a measurable verb (an action verb)
- It should include a specification of what is given the learner.
- It should contain a specification of criteria for success or competency.
Objectives will include 4 distinct components: Audience, Behavior, Condition and Degree. Objectives must be both observable and measurable to be effective. Use of words like understand and learn in writing objectives are generally not acceptable as they are difficult to measure.What is a SMART objective give an example? ›
An example of a SMART-goal statement might look like this: Our goal is to [quantifiable objective] by [timeframe or deadline]. [Key players or teams] will accomplish this goal by [what steps you'll take to achieve the goal]. Accomplishing this goal will [result or benefit].What are the 6 characteristics of good objectives? ›
SMART is an acronym used to identify the characteristics of good objectives. SMART objectives identify who should do what, under what conditions, according to which standards. SMART objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.What are the five 5 criteria for setting of objectives? ›
Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives is a good way to plan the steps to meet the long-term goals in your grant. It helps you take your grant from ideas to action.What are the 8 characteristics of an objective? ›
The eight desired characteristics of objectives were already mentioned in previous text. Objectives should be: quantitative, • measurable, • realistic, • understandable, • challenging, • hierarchical, • obtainable, and • congruent across departments.What are the 4 major objectives of project management? ›
In short, project management objectives are the successful development of project's phases including initiation, planning , execution, monitoring and closing.
What are the 5 C's in project management? ›
The 5 Cs of managing projects, Complexity, Criticality, Compliance, Culture and Compassion, tell you how much and how often to do the things we do. There are five, they fit on your hand, and they go in order. The first three, complexity, criticality and compliance, are about the work, and that's where we begin.What are the 3 W's of project management? ›
Three important elements make up that foundation: why, what and who. Why are you taking on a project? What are you hoping to accomplish?How do you set goals and objectives for a project? ›
- Start with where you are and where you want to be. ...
- Break goals down into smaller parts. ...
- Make goals specific and measurable. ...
- Match goals to team members' strengths. ...
- Focus on learning as well as accomplishment. ...
- Show relevance of goals to keep the team motivated.
Shenhar, Dvir, Levy, and Maltz (2001) demonstrated empirically that project success is composed of the four factors of efficiency (cost and schedule), customer impact (multiple measures), business success (commercial success and market share), and future preparation (multiple measures).What are examples of project success criteria? ›
- Cost. This factor measures the total cost of the project against the expected budget that stakeholders establish at the beginning of a project. ...
- Timeline. ...
- Scope. ...
- Deliverables. ...
- Resource capacity. ...
- Business goals. ...
- Stakeholder satisfaction. ...
- Scope. The project's scope and objectives must first be established. ...
- Schedule. The deadline that must be met for each project is one of its most crucial components. ...
- Budget. ...
- Client Goals. ...
- Quality. ...
- Team Goals. ...
- Deliverables. ...
- Resource Capacity.
Be specific. This is a mission statement for your goal rather than a list. Think about the 6 W's (Who, What, When Where, Which, Why) and identify how this goal will be accomplished.What is SMART agile objectives? ›
S.M.A.R.T is both a mnemonic and acronym – it describes objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time- bound. The words the letters spell out are also criteria for how goals or objectives should be stated or written to be effective. “S.M.A.R.T.What key performance objectives do you have for 2023? ›
- Revenue Goals. Revenue goals work well as the company's primary goal. ...
- Sales Goals. Sales goals work well as employee performance goals for salespeople. ...
- User Growth Goals. ...
- Traffic Goals. ...
- Conversion Rate Goals. ...
- Email Marketing Goals. ...
- Social Media Goals. ...
- Product Engagement Goals.
Get a raise, get a promotion and improve work/life balance are the three most popular 2023 career goals for US workers. These findings are based on a survey by MoneyPenny of 1,000 workers across ages, genders and occupations.
What are measurable goals examples? ›
- A measurable learning objective like skill up 10 employees to meet production demands.
- Increase employee satisfaction by 30% by the end of the year.
- An instructional objective, like introducing 2 new skill training policies.
A project objective states the aim of a project. It tells us what the project team wants to accomplish.What comes first the goal or the objective? ›
Goals are big-picture ideas about where you want to go. Objectives are concrete steps that move you toward your goals. Goals precede objectives in a well-run organization, creating an outline and a vision to be filled in with specifics down the line.What are project goals objectives and deliverables? ›
The project objective defines the benefits, outcomes, and performance improvements that are expected from the project. The objectives focus on things that are external to the project. Deliverables are the specific, tangible things produced that enable the objectives to be achieved.What are the four parts of an effective objective? ›
Learning objectives are known to be made up of a number of components. The most known components are those identified by an educational theorist Robert Marger. The major components are audience, condition, standards and behavior.What are the five 5 objectives of project management explain each? ›
A project, regardless of its size, generally involves five distinctive project life cycle phases of equal importance: Initiation, Planning and Design, Construction and Execution, Monitoring and Control, Completion.What 3 elements should an objective have? ›
Objective statements contain three parts: behavior, conditions, and criteria.What are key objectives of a project? ›
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.