Project Management Tips for Developing Meaningful Project Objectives

By Stanley E. Portny

Part of Project Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet

As a project manager, developing concise and unambiguous project objectives (or statements of your project’s desired results) increases the chances that you’ll successfully accomplish them. Follow these pointers to ensure your project objectives are crystal clear:

  • Focus on outcomes rather than activities. (For example, “produce a final, approved report” is preferable to “read and review draft report.”)

  • Make sure your objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, aggressive, realistic, and time-sensitive).

  • Use clear language — no technical jargon or acronyms.

  • Make sure every objective has at least one measure and every measure has at least one performance target. (For example, if the narrative statement of your objective is “to develop a new product,” one measure would be “target completion date” and the performance target for that measure would be “August 15, 20__.”)