Writing a set of objectives is a great way to describe the intention and objective of a project. It will also help to guide the development process.
If you have ever been a manager overseeing a project, the person who takes care of marketing, or even as an executive looking for ways to make projects more successful, then understanding how to write and explain objectives is key.
In this post, we will go over what they are and how to write them well:
What Are Project Objectives?
Objectives are the intended results of a project. This can be written as a simple list of things you want to achieve through your project. Or, it can be noted as a more detailed and comprehensive set of ideas.
For some example project objectives, this list of objectives can be found on the website for the NASA Artemis mission.
These objectives include:
- Landing the first woman and first person of color on the moon
- Using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before
- Collaborating with commercial and international partners to establish the first long-term presence on the Moon
- Use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars
While the Artemis Plan's PDF goes into significantly more detail on each aspect of this plan, having the core objectives of the overall mission laid out so that anyone can understand them is imperative for everyone's understanding.
You may not be accountable to a nation's worth of people, but you do need to communicate clearly to your team, your stakeholders, and others who may be aware of your project, especially if there are significant resources or budget associated with it.
In your list of project objectives, you will want to make sure that each item is clear and concise. It should also state the goal of the end result and provide a sense of direction for the project.
It is also a good idea to link each objective with a specific outcome or goal. This will help to make the objectives more tangible and allow others to make sense of them.
When writing down all of your objectives for a project, make sure to also consider the following:
- What do you want?
- Why do you want it?
- What will you need to achieve the objective?
- How will you measure success?
BONUS: *Why* Do We Have These Goals?
While not always required to be explicitly stated in a project plan, knowing the answers to the questions will help you lead your project to success. For example, the Artemis Mission page states bold near the top:
Why We Are Going To The Moon:
We’re going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers: the Artemis Generation . . . . We will build a global alliance and explore deep space for the benefit of all.
After reading that, how can you not be inspired and motivated to help drive this project to successful completion?
How To Write Excellent Project Objectives
You've probably heard of SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound). Project objectives should be SMART as well.
You might be groaning here, but it's quite common for people to miss at least one of these criteria when setting goals. Personally, I often forget the time-frame in my own goals. They're measurable objectives, just by when?
So, make sure that each objective has a specific and measurable end result or outcome goal. For example, if your objective is to improve the website for your company, then your outcome goal might be that you want people who browse the site to make more purchases. Your objective is to increase your sales month-over-month by a certain amount.
To arrive at this objective, you might consider the following questions related to setting this project objective:
- How will website improvements lead to users of the site increasing purchases/sales?
- By how much?
- What do you need to make it happen?
Examples of Measurable Project Objectives:
- Improve on-page SEO ranking for our home page by 30% over the next six months.
- By summer, increase monthly sales by 10% across all product lines, while keeping monthly profit margin at current levels.
- Create a resource that will increase the engagement of our users by 10% over the next three months.
- Add tracking and create a dashboard to understand how customers are using our product and know which areas to improve based on numbers and hard data.
Running Your Project Kick-Off Meeting
Now that you've written your project objectives, you're nearing the time when you launch your project and get everyone on the same page. Like declaring the objectives themselves, this meeting helps set the tone and vision for the project.
For your kick-off meeting, you'll want to provide necessary background for the project, outline the goals you've written, and then talk about the tasks, timeline, and logistics around completing those tasks.
Here's an agenda template you can use to kick-off your project: