Establishing Meaningful Project Objectives

(Project Management Tip)

All too often objectives, outcomes and deliverables get confused resulting in unclear objectives and the project delivering ‘stuff’ rather than improvements.

Objectives define the WHY; meaning they should define a project’s:

  • Desired benefits;
  • Desired outcomes; and/or
  • Performance improvements.

Objectives should not describe what you plan to do, how you plan to do it or what you plan to produce.

The top tips we follow when writing project objectives are:

  • Involve the whole project team including the sponsor and key stakeholders rather than writing them in isolation;
  • Keep them brief, clear and outline the path to success;
  • Ensure they align with the business objectives; and
  • Write objectives in such a way that they communicate the project purpose and motivate the project team.

Try applying these tips in your next project, or if you have a project underway, use them to review the already defined project objectives. If you find they do not clearly define WHY the project is being undertaken, suggest to your project team to pause, review and change the objectives. This should help get a project back on track, and stop it from going off the rails or ensure it can fully deliver the improvements as intended.

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