What is the Difference Between Project Objectives and Project Goals?

Some people tend to mix up Project Objectives and Project Goals, many think they’re the same, while, in fact, they are different.

The main difference between Project Objectives and Project Goals is that the latter represent a statement at a higher level, for example, our main goal for this project is to enhance the quality of our voice service. Project Objectives are at a lesser level than the Project Goals, for example, upgrade the software on the voice servers by June 30th.

In general:

  • A goal is non-measurable, an objective is.
  • A goal can span multiple projects, while an objective is only part of a project.
  • A goal is vague, an objective is not.
  • A goal is an  abstract, overall statement of what the project will accomplish, an objective is a concrete statement that is achievable.
  • An objective is SMART, a goal is not.
  • An objective is time-bound, a goal is not.

Note: SMART means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.

© 2009 Project Management Learning – Reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited without the written consent of Project Management Learning.


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