Managing a project involves a wide variety of tangible and intangible components. Few, however, are as important as project objectives.
What is a project objective?
Project objectives in project management are the specific, tangible outcomes that will be produced and delivered by the project. They identify and describe the concrete actions or deliverables that will work together to achieve the broader, higher-level goals of the project as a whole.
To be effective, objectives should motivate your team, clearly outline a path to success, and help monitor your progress. Below, we’ll cover how you can make sure that your objectives help facilitate the achievement of your larger project goals by doing just that. Plus, we’ll cover some project objective examples to set you on the right path.
Tips for Setting Project Objectives
1. State objectives clearly and concisely.
Your project objectives should be outlined in a way that is clearly understood by everyone without any chance of ambiguity. They should also be short enough that they can be easily repeated and remembered. The outline should include the specific outcome you want to achieve, how you’ll achieve it, the metric that will be used for measuring success and, finally, a specific target value.
Consider the following project objective examples, which are concrete, clear, and concise:
- Year-on-year H2 sales to increase by 25% – e.g., from $10 million to $12.5 million
- New customers in UK operation to average 500 monthly, from January to December
- Landing page conversion rate for new campaign to be at least 10%
2. Know the methodologies for setting project objectives.
As project objectives in project management are so important, it’s hardly surprising that a lot has been written about how they can be set effectively. Here we’ll take a look at two of the most widely used.
These are easily replicable throughout your team’s processes and as they are so widely known, they are also simple to communicate to others. You can set SMART objectives by following a simple formula:
- Specific: This involves describing the objective by answering the questions “what, why, when, who, where” to leave stakeholders in no doubt as to what the goal is.
- Measurable: An objective should have metrics and specific values that can be used to monitor and assess success.
- Achievable: This seems obvious, but it bears stating that your goals should be possible for the team to achieve. Otherwise, they can be easily dismissed or demotivate your team.
- Relevant: Objectives should fit the focus and long-term plan of your organization or team, so that each objective achieved is a step towards overall project or business goals.
- Time-limited: The aim should be to achieve your project objectives within a certain time-frame.
OKR (Objectives and Key Results)
The OKR framework was initially developed at Intel and is now used by tens of thousands of companies, especially technology giants such as Google, LinkedIn and Oracle. The process of setting OKRs is as follows:
- Objectives: Highlight 3-5 objectives for your team or organization. These should be ambitious yet also achievable and time-bound.
- Key Results: Under each of these, highlight 3 results which will define success. These should be easily quantifiable and difficult, at the limits of what you believe is achievable.
At the end of a set timespan, you will measure how successful you were at achieving each of the Key Results using a scale of 0-1, with a success rate of 60%-70% being generally viewed as the par score.
Whatever project you’re approaching, having a clear idea of how you are going to set and monitor your project objectives will be key to success. Monitoring your project with these tips and project objective examples in mind will give you and your team a clear focus about what the expectations are and what needs to be achieved.