How To Write A Project Objective In 5 Steps: With Examples
Updated 30 September 2022
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An objective is a specific outcome you can use to determine milestones within a project. They can help you increase the effectiveness of your projects and achieve the results you want. Understanding how to write these can help you prepare detailed and effective projects that meet primary and secondary goals for an organisation. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide for how to write a project objective, share an example for each step and give three examples of complete project objectives that you can model when writing your own.
What Are Project Objectives?
Project objectives are a collection of steps an organisation creates to complete a project. They include the ultimate goals of the project, the timeframe for completing the objectives and the main focus of the project. It also sets the measurements for success, describes the necessary quality of work and gives the team the ability to communicate with each other and share their progress with stakeholders.
Project objectives are also the first layer of specific and measurable deliverables a project produces. You can use tools like project dashboards to track your progress towards specific goals. Unlike the ultimate goals of a project, the objectives represent steps toward that goal. For example, reaching a milestone partway to reaching the end goal is a project objective.
Related: What Is Project Scheduling? (With Tips And Techniques)
How To Write A Project Objective
Here are five steps on how to write a project objective:
1. Describe the changes an organisation wants to make
Before you create a project objective, you can look at previous projects and determine the changes you want to make. These changes address challenges previous projects experienced and seek to minimise them before the project starts. These can include providing more resources and encouraging professional behaviour, which may increase overall efficiency toward meeting the company's goals. Once you improve the project's objectives, you can then set up other important steps.
Example: An organisation's previous project did not have enough professionals who could analyse the data the project brought in daily. Since there were not enough people working on the project, they could not process the information fast enough to continue. You notice the project you are about to engage in has the same challenge. To minimise this risk, you identify this challenge and request more data analysts.
Related: 10 Valuable Data Analysis Skills
2. Define what a successful project objective means
The next step toward creating a project objective is to define what success is. Different objectives may experience different successes. This is the reason you created specific measurements outlining when each objective is complete. Some examples of success can include meeting a measurable goal, such as producing a specific number of products or meeting a deadline, such as analysing data by the middle of the production year. These achievements can help you measure the progress of your project objective and determine whether they are successful.
Example: The goal of the project objective is to create 5,000 units before the end of the first quarter. This allows you to stress test the machinery and determine whether you can increase the number of units without changing the current resources and assets. At the end of the quarter, you assess the goal and find that the organisation could create 6,000 units, meaning you are able to increase production without adjusting the assets you have.
Related: 10 Key Factors To Success (And Tips For Measuring Success)
3. Identify the focus
The focus of the project is any part of an organisation that affects the project. Project objectives have specific measurements, so they require specific focuses to understand their effects on a project. Different objectives for a project can include features such as:
Example: A project you are working on has the goal of creating 5,000 units in a specific period. This means the focus of the project is productivity. To set effective project objectives, you focus on this feature. At one point, you find another project manager has created an objective to increase sustainability, but this conflicts with productivity by increasing costs and reducing the units you can make. Using this information, you adjust your objectives to focus only on productivity and address the challenge of sustainability later in the project life cycle.
Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master
4. Set a timeline and location for the project
This step means identifying when and where you or your team completes a project objective. Objectives may include many departments and require a vast amount of teamwork to complete successfully. This means that you can organise the objectives to be specific, which includes adding the location and time. The location means including where you would like this objective to take place, such as in the district, region, nation or at a specific branch. The time suggests the date when you want to complete it, such as the third quarter, annually or in two years.
Example: You set a goal to meet the sustainability guidelines of your industry for West Bengal by the end of the production year. This helps you remain focused on the sustainability objective of your project. West Bengal represents the location, and the end of the production year represents the time. Both help you create smaller milestones you can use to track your progress.
Related: SMART Goals: Definition And Examples
5. Make your project objective clear and concise
The last step is to review your project objective and make sure it is clear and concise. To do this, read through it and remove any information that is unnecessary. Then, revise it so others can easily read and use it. While you do not want a project objective to be several pages long, you still want to include detailed information where possible so everyone understands it.
Example: You create a project objective and decide to make it concise and clear so other professionals can use it effectively. You eliminate any unnecessary information specific to your job. You also open lines of communication between team members to ensure everyone understands their importance in the project.
Examples Of Project Objectives
Here are three examples of project objectives you can use as inspiration for when you write your own:
Below is an example of an organisation's project objective for decreasing wait time for their products so it can increase its overall accessibility:
Wait times for clients to access our company's online learning materials were too long, so the clients used other resources to facilitate their learning. To address this challenge, we want to decrease the wait time for our materials by reducing the size of the files. Since this is a globally available resource, this project extends to all of our marketing regions. The number of materials we have currently can allow us to reduce their size within the next six months.
Below is an example of a project objective for an organisation that wants to increase the performance of its professionals:
Currently, our company's finance department has an average performance of 3 out of 4 potential points. This has been slowing the company's ability to process payments and payroll. By September 2023, we want to increase our average finance department employee's performance and annual review score from a 3 to an overall average of 3.5 out of 4. To do this, we want to make quarterly training and refresher courses mandatory for employees with a performance score of 3.4 or less. The focus of this objective is the performance of their professionals.
Below is an example of an organisation's project objective to decrease the use of cash within their businesses:
As part of the company's goal to eliminate the need for cash in our businesses, we want to grow our mobile and web applications for our rental properties by 10%. We can do this by developing more user-friendly models for both systems. The primary focus is on the West Bengal properties, with the possibility of extending to other regions when the objective is complete. Since we already have the foundation for mobile and web applications, we can expect to meet this objective in the next three months.
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