There are lots of reasons why you’d set objectives for a project, not least because they help you establish what it is you are doing and when you are going to do it by. If you don’t have objectives, you can spend a lot of time working on things that really aren’t all that relevant to your project and that can be a massive waste of effort.

So it’s important to set clear objectives for your project and communicate these to your project team members. You probably have experience setting objectives and they probably form part of your project charter or other early project documentation like a project initiation document. And your sponsor should agree them, and have a large input into putting them together. But have you ever thought about how you could categorise the objectives and whether you are making a comprehensive list? It’s easy to leave out core objectives if you don’t think holistically about the whole project and what you want to achieve.

Here are 6 types of objectives. Does your project have objectives that cover all these categories?


Financial objectives are normally relatively easy to put together and you will find your sponsor is keen to make sure that if your project is going to make the company any money that this is record adequately in the project objectives. Your project may deliver a clear financial return (for example, launching a new product to the consumer market) or make a financial saving (such as closing an underperforming office).


There may be some quality objectives for your project, such as delivering to certain internal or external quality standards. Quality objectives also manifest themselves in the form of process improvement projects that aim to reduce defects or increase customer satisfaction somehow. You may find that quality objectives are included in your quality plan, so you can take them from there and include them in the main body of your project documentation (or vice versa, as you will probably write the quality plan after your charter).


Companies already have technology in use so a technical objective could be to upgrade existing technology, install new technology or even to make use of existing technology during the deployment of your project. Technology comes in different forms so this could include mobile devices or telephones as well as hardware, software and networking capabilities.


Performance objectives tend to be related to how the project will be run, so could include things like delivering to a certain budget figure or by a certain date, or not exceeding a certain number of resources. You could also have performance objectives related to achieving project scope, such as the number of requirements that will be completed or achieving customer sign off.


Regulatory requirements form compliance objectives. For example, there could be the obligation to meet legal guidance on your project or to comply with local regulations. A construction project could also have the objective to meet or exceed health and safety targets.


Of course! This is the main area where you are likely to find project objectives and it relates to what it is that you are doing – the key drivers for the project. Business objectives would be things like launching that new product, closing that office or anything else that is the main reason for delivering the project.

All these objectives have to be prioritised. Most people would say that business objectives are the most important, as without these you don’t really have a project. But within the business objectives you could have multiple sub-objectives and these also need to be prioritised.