Writing project objectives is one of those tricky tasks that project managers often struggle with. You understand what’s required, but you still have a hard time putting those pesky objectives together.
The stakes are high though as the clearer your project objectives are, the more likely you will achieve success. Plus, the project will be a whole lot easier for you to manage.
The good news is that writing effective project objectives isn’t as hard as you think. Here we share some tips to help you develop effective project objectives every time.
What are project objectives?
Try not to confuse project objectives with project goals. It’s a common trap project managers fall into.
Project goals are high-level targets. Closely linked to corporate priorities, project goals provide the big picture.
Project objectives, on the other hand, supply the detail around what your project will deliver. They focus more on the specific, tangible results your project will produce.
How to write SMART project objectives
Developing project objectives can be stressful and difficult. With so many moving parts to your project, getting started is hard, right?
The SMART framework is one of the most popular tools for developing your project objectives. Super-easy to remember, the SMART approach helps to really focus your efforts.
SMART is an acronym which stands for the following:
- S = specific: Define your objectives – try to answer the five w’s (who, what, when, where, and why).
- M = measurable: Consider the performance specifications and measures needed to assess whether you’ve met your objective.
- A = achievable: Only set objectives that are achievable. Overly ambitious targets or ones out of your direct control may not have a reasonable chance of success.
- R = realistic: Ensure the project objectives are practical, given the budget, time constraints, and expertise within the project team.
- T = time-bound: Include a timeframe for completion of the objective.
Alongside the SMART framework, here are some other helpful best practice tips.
- Have all your objectives set before you start the project; otherwise, confusion and uncertainty will set in.
- Get the project team involved as they will be the ones delivering the objectives.
- Be clear and concise. A long-winded objective runs the risk of being misunderstood.
- Use plain English. Try and avoid technical terms and jargon. Everyday language makes it easier for the project team and stakeholders to understand the objective.
- And when drafting your objectives, consider using action words like increase, decrease, and improve. After all, you want your objective to be doing or achieving something.
Examples of SMART project objectives
So, what does a SMART project objective look like? Here are some examples of project objectives that meet the SMART test.
- We will reduce departmental overtime from 100 hours per month to 45 hours by the end of the fiscal year with no increase in reported safety incidents.
- By December 31, we will identify five metrics to demonstrate the success of our new marketing strategy.
- In quarter two, we will run five product demonstration webinars with 15+ participants and a satisfied/very satisfied approval rating of 85%.
- Ensure that 95% of employees have completed training in the new CRM software by June 30.
Clear, easy-to-understand project objectives are fundamental to successful project management. When drafting project objectives, always test them against the SMART framework to get your project off to the best start.
And if you need a helping hand with writing your project objectives, then get in touch with us here at Write Solutions. The experienced team will ensure your project objectives tick all the boxes.