A project objectives checklist

Categories productivity, Projects, Working smart

Objectives help your team to focus on the tasks at hand while not losing sight of the overall outcome that it needs to reach.

A good team is results-oriented, focusing on what it is trying to achieve not what it’s currently doing.

Use this checklist to verify that the objectives defined for your project will help you achieve results and won’t hinder your efforts.

  1. Are the defined objectives clear enough?

    Contrary to goals, objectives must be focused and clear. Understandable objectives will drive the team to successful results.

  2. Are the defined objectives SMART?

    Do the objectives comply with the SMART criteria:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant
    • Time constrained
  3. Is the number of objectives right (4-6 range)?

    There is no right number of project objectives but taking into account the fact that objectives should be known and tracked by the team, a low number (having between 4 and 6 objectives is a good compromise) will make it easier for the team to keep focused on the essential. Remember, the more objectives you have, the harder it will be for your team to keep track of them.

  4. Is there a known and clear context?

    The defined objectives must be linked to the overall context. Objectives that do not advance the project (useless objectives) or that are contrary to company strategy (like building a whole new product that competes with one that already exists) should be eliminated or changed. For each objective yourself these questions:

    • Will achieving this objective advance the project?
    • Does this objective tie in to the project and company goals?
    • Does this objective follow the company strategy?
  5. Are the defined objectives known and agreed upon?

    It is important that all stakeholders know and agree to the defined objectives. It is very important for project success that the objectives are known and agreed upon by project sponsors and executives.

  6. Can each defined objective be tied to a deliverable?

    Think of this as a post-SMART check. If you can pinpoint at least one deliverable that helps you attain an objective you are OK. If you can’t ask yourself this: how are we achieving this objective? If it doesn’t matter, you should remove it from the list.

  7. Does every defined objective have quality criteria specified?

    Besides being measurable, each objective should have quality criteria defined, so that both quantitative (are we there yet?) and qualitative (is it the right thing?) parameters can be tracked and accounted for. Getting it right is just as important as getting it done.

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