What are the Project Objectives? Are they different from Project Goals? How to write them? Is it really important to write them?
If you’ve ever had these questions, you are in the right place. This simple guide will help answer all your questions. We’ve tried to write it in a human language so that it’s easy to understand for beginners, those who are not project managers, planning to become one or not sure yet.
What Are The Project Objectives
Project Objectives - measurable, defined and detailed, specific outcomes or achievements of your project. Basically, Project Objectives define how your project result going to look like.
Attention: Project Objectives are not Project Goal. Project Goal is to deliver product, service, or result. Project Objectives specify how this product, service, result going to look like, its characteristics, how it is going to be achieved.
Example: Project goal is to build a summer house. Project Objectives would be style and material (wood or brick), how many stores it should have, when it should be delivered and any specific conditions (being earthquake resistant).
A Simple Rule To Formulate Project Objectives
In general, Project Objectives answer the question HOW or What Kind (characteristics)?
How we are going to do it? How fast? How much money/resources we are going to spend? How it is going to look like / function? What kind of features / characteristics it’s going to have? What kind of work needs t be done to achieve the result?
Who to ask those questions from? Ask them from your stakeholders. You don’t need to come up with Project Objectives on your own. What kind of creature is this stake-holder and where to find them?
Simply put, stakeholder is a person and/or organisation participating in the project and/or able to influence it. It’s not only you and your client. It’s also development team, other teams directly or indirectly involved, third-party and contractors, sometimes even government and other structures.
Project manager’s goal is to collect as much information as possible to formulate Project Objectives
Not to get lost in what Project Objectives should cover, follow these 4 main areas: money, time, scope, quality. Yep, it’s from project management world, but it’s not difficult and that’s what we are doing here anyway ;)
1) Money - benchmark of how much we are willing to spend on the project
- Product should be developed within budget not exceeding 100K of money
- Spend 100500 million of investor money
- Conduct the research using only Charity funds
- Get subscribers with 100 coins investment
2) Time - criteria of when we want to receive the result
- Product should be developed within budget not exceeding 100K of money by November 2015
- Spend 100500 million of investor money in the first year
- Conduct the research using only Charity funds during monsoon season
- Get subscribers with 100 coins investment per month within 3rd Quarter 2015
3) Scope - what we are actually trying to achieve, what work we need to do and what features we want to have
- Minimal Viable Product should be developed within budget not exceeding 100K of money by November 2015. MVP will contain feature A, B and C
- Spend 100500 million of investor money on company expansion in the first year
- Conduct the research on seashells mood swings under cold current influence in Southern Sea using only Charity funds during monsoon season
- Get 1000 subscribers on website.com monthly with 100 coins investment monthly
4) Quality - based on all the above what quality criteria of work we should expect.
- Minimal Viable Product should be developed within budget not exceeding 100K of money by November 2015. MVP will contain feature A, B and C with minimal design sufficient to test assumptions 1, 2 and 3.
- Spend 100500 million of investor money on company expansion to Southeast Asia Market in the first year to reach half billion evaluation
- Conduct quantitative and qualitative research on seashells mood swings under cold current influence in Southern Sea using only Charity funds during monsoon season
- Get 1000 subscribers on website.com from English speaking Facebook and Twitter with the conversion rate of 50% monthly with 100 coins investment monthly.
In the end, We get something like this:
Project Name: Project Zero
Project Goal: Develop and deliver software
1. Develop Minimal Viable Product for Software
2. Software X should solve the problem “______”
3. Minimal Viable Product should be developed within budget not exceeding 100K of money
4. MVP should be delivered by November 2015 which is the deadline for the project.
5. MVP will contain feature A, B and C with minimal design sufficient to test assumptions 1, 2 and 3. Features, design requirements and assumptions are described in the specification to the Project
6. MVP should be workable item, tested and should not contain bugs
Project Objectives also can include specific resources, locations, characteristics and any other particulars you want to include. However, don’t make it it too complicated. It should be straight-forward, detailed but not too long. The best is when you can make a list out of it, not a novel.
Important: Project Objectives should be measurable - they should contain specific quantitative, measurable characteristic to avoid ambiguity and to understand when success is achieved or missed. Project Objectives can be many. All of them should be related to Project Goal, support and specify it in details. Project Objectives should be agreed on by all stakeholders.
Why I should spend my time to write this, it’s all clear/common sense anyway?
Simply, Project Objectives help define the end result of the project and specify the criteria of project success. They keep the clarity on what you do. And if you have measurable criteria, you know when you achieved or missed the goal. It will help you track project performance and team performance, will show how far you are from the goal.
Lastly, you always have a reference document of what you specified and agreed on for the project (crucially important when working with external customers). Basically, it will save your a$$ if anything. Spend some time on it in the beginning and it will make your life so much easier in future.