Project Goals

Why differentiate between Project Goals and Objectives?

In colloquial language, we all use the terms ‘goal’ and ‘objective’ interchangeably. But when it comes to project management, there is a distinctive difference between the two words.

Establishing the goals and objectives early in a project lifecycle can efficiently motivate and establish the key progress indicators. Furthermore, it can also work as a road map for a project team.

Failing to do so can deliberately derail any project. The most common reasons for project failure include:

  • Alterations in objectives,
  • Undefined project goals, etc.

However, pursuing a Project Management Course can upskill your management skills. Thus, you can seamlessly establish your project goals and objectives and differentiate between them. Besides, you can efficiently meet your deadlines and ensure all your targets are on point.

This article will provide informative insights into the differences between project goals and objectives. But before that, we will give you a quick run-through of each individually. Please stick to the end of the article to know more about it.

Read to know more!

Project Goal Overview

A project goal is typically defined as the desired result of a project. In a nutshell, it clearly states what you wish to accomplish with a particular project.

The goal of a project is often broad, and it’s quite difficult to measure them precisely. But to succeed, it is imperative to set project goals. This will give the project team a clear picture of their work.

It might sound funny or dramatic, but a project without a goal is like a ship without a captain.

Types of Project Goals

Some of the most common project goals are

●      Process-oriented goals

This goal is primarily used to improve internal processes. For instance, a team’s goal becomes process-oriented when they are responsible for streamlining project tasks. So, instead of focusing on the outcome only, they focus on achieving it best.

●      Outcome-oriented goals

When the goal of a project is only to focus on the results, it is outcome-oriented. This type of goal can seamlessly help you achieve the most important and far-reaching business goals.

The outcome of this goal is more important than meeting the deadline. Thus, the timeline for such goals can be altered and adjusted as and when required.

●      Time-bound Goals

This goal focuses on getting work done within a specific time frame. Time-bound goals motivate the project team and get things done quickly.

Overview of Project Objectives

A project objective is a tangible, short-term, specific outcome within a project. Remember that the project objectives together make up the goal of the project. Thus project objectives should always adhere to the acronym of SMART. In other words, project objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

What are the types of Project Objectives?

Some common types of project objectives include:

●      Strategic Objectives

A strategic objective is nothing other than an objective that aims to contribute towards enormous business goals. For instance, if a landscaping company strives to become the number one choice for aesthetic-loving customers, it might have a strategic objective. Thus, the company would do anything to line all the garden paths with radiant flower settings.

●      Financial Objectives

You will probably know that every other project has a financial objective. And the most obvious one is to keep within the project’s budget and not exceed it.

On the other hand, while working for a client, your primary focus will be to increase their bottom line. For instance, you will only look forward to creating an attractive website to increase your web traffic.

●      Quality Objectives

Client rust indeed thrives on quality deliverables. So when clients feel they were presented with a good deliverable and the investment was worthwhile, they will likely return. However, the reverse scenario is also true.

Difference between Project Goals and Project Objectives

By now, you must know that project goals and objectives are different. A project goal is what requires to be accomplished, whereas project objectives envision how the goals will be accomplished.

To have a clear idea between the two, we will quickly differentiate the project goals and objectives:

Project Goals Project Objectives
Project goals are usually long-term. Therefore, they cover 5-10 years approximately. Project objectives are more specific and concrete. So they cover both short-term and mid-term achievements that must be implemented regularly.
Project goals need to possess an appropriate structure since they define long-term gains. That’s why they are quite vague, generic, and abstract.


Project objectives are opposite to project goals as they are extremely specific. Since the objectives define an organization’s short-term and mid-term achievements, they are highly structured.
It is quite difficult to measure the project goals. It’s because they do not possess any criteria or an appropriate measuring method.


Project objectives are easier to measure since they come with set criteria. So managers can easily determine whether or not the project objectives were successfully met.

Studies have revealed that only 64% of projects can successfully meet their goals.

Meanwhile, the remaining 36% know what they wish to achieve. However, they must be more capable of properly executing the project objectives to meet the goals.

Thus, establishing SMART goals and objectives is truly essential for the success of projects.

In conlcusion,

Both goals and objectives of a project are key to accomplishing new business outcomes. You should remember that you cannot possibly have one without the other. That’s why it becomes extremely important for you to correctly implement project goals and objectives within your team.

Once you incorporate the correct strategy by differentiating the two, your team can seamlessly reach new heights.