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What are Project Goals?

A Project goal defines the outcome of a project when it completes. Project goals high-level statements provide an overall idea of what the project will accomplish. Project goals are important for the success of any business or organization. Poorly defined project goals can result in the loss of important resources during the project and failure to deliver on time.

In this post, we’ll talk about project goals, 3 goals in project management, and how to write them.

Project Goals Vs Project Objectives

While goals provide a destination, the objective provides the path to reach the destination.

Goals : All project goals must be aligned with the business goals. An example of a project goal might be “Increase customer experience with the website of ABC bank”.

This statement is high-level because it does not provide a tangible or measurable outcome. The statement directly focuses on the business goals of customer service quality.

Objectives : Project Objectives must align with the project goals. Objective statements are low-level statements that are used to evaluate the project to see whether it was achieved or not. Objective statements must not be vague and should be defined clearly.

An example of the objective might be:

“Customer experience satisfaction must be 80% or above”

3 goals in project management

While a project is underway, you and your team should strive to achieve 3 performance goals which are:

  1. Finish the project within the scheduled time
  2. Finish the project within the allocated budget
  3. Finish the project with high quality

Let’s briefly discuss each of these goals.

Finish the project within the scheduled time

Your number one priority is to finish the project on time. Projects not completed in the allocated time result in extra resources to the company and loss of reputation with the client. Assign tasks and milestones to your project to see how the project is going. Plan for situations that may result in project delays that are not in your control. Take some time to analyze requirements and set the scope to effectively finish the project in time.

Finish the project within the allocated budget

The second most important aspect of project management is keeping the project within budget. The project budget is developed and approved in the project planning. Careful budget planning is important for the project to be successful. You may find yourself in a situation where a project’s budget is already allocated. In such cases, you must consider each component of the budget and where it will likely be spent. Successful completion of a project with a pre-allocated budget shows your responsibility towards the project.

Finish the project with high quality

All projects aim to deliver their products with high quality. However, when things are not going according to the plan-the project is delayed or lacks budget. For instance, quality is compromised. While lowering the quality of the deliverable may seem a solution to overcome the project delay, this solution will give rise to many other problems such as the product not working as it was supposed to, defects in the product, the product may be delivered incomplete, etc. Your goal should be to analyze the cause of the delays in the project and optimize it to ensure that quality does not suffer.

How to write project goals?

Writing project goals can be a challenging task, as unclear project goals are among the most common causes of project failure. An efficient method to write project goals is the SMART approach. SMART is an acronym for

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound


The goals must be specific and clear. Vague and lengthy goals may not be able to communicate to the team what they are trying to achieve.

Examples of Specific goals:

Unclear goal: Make a cross-browser layout of the

Specific goal: the site must be equally displayed in browsers IE6+, Firefox 2+, and Opera6+.


Set project metrics that help yourself and the team determine when the goal is met. You can track and view the progress towards the goals with measurable goals and remain motivated.

Example of Measurable goals:

Non-measurable goal: Increase the traffic on the website.

Measurable goal: The traffic on the website must be 2,000 visitors per day


Project goals must be attainable meaning that they are realistic and achievable. Setting realistic goals can help you tap opportunities and resources that may benefit you in achieving them. Set goals according to the skillset of your team.


The relevance of the goal to the team and the company’s objectives are two sides that need to be considered. The goal relevance for the team member is closely linked to his/her performance and motivation. In the above example of customer experience, we are talking about the business quality of customer experience which is relevant to the business goals.


Setting a deadline to meet each project goal is necessary if you want to finish on time and limit the usage of resources. This is an important part of the SMART goal criteria. Setting a due date for each goal will motivate your team to finish the tasks on time. But beware that setting incorrect timelines for your project goals can push your project to failure due to the non-completion of tasks required to complete the goals.

The urgency of your goals is closely linked to the goal-completion attainability.


Incorrect goal : Implement the “About Us” functionality of the website tomorrow for the client’s review.

Correct goal : Implement the “About Us” functionality of the website by noon 12/5/2022 for the client’s review.

These deadline concepts are integrated into Scrum. Iterations always have a fixed timeline , and everyone knows when to demonstrate their work to the clients.

Writing project goals is one of the most challenging parts of the project management process. This blog has discussed the three types of goals and how to use the SMART method to write specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. ONES Project provides teams to create projects with Waterfall and Agile methodologies and allows them to plan projects, assign milestones to them and view and track their performance.

Originally published at on December 16, 2022.

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