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Why Differentiate Between Project Goals and Objectives?

Differentiate Between Project Goals and Objectives
Are project goals and project objectives both the same thing?

Yes? Then, why so? 

If not, then again, why do you think these two terms are different?

Taking a broader outlook, most people tend to use the words ‘project goals’ and ‘project objectives’ interchangeably. But, there is a world of difference between the two. Let’s take an example:

“Our client needs us to build a new building on their campus for IT teams.” 

“To achieve this, I need our teams to: 

  • Analyze the resources needed to get the job done
  • Create blueprints for the building
  • Get the material needed to construct the building
  • Construct the building
  • Ask for feedback…

…So, Let’s get to work!”

Now, which one is a goal and which is the objective?


In this chapter, we will elaborate on the differences between project goals and objectives. Here we go!

Difference Between Project Goals and Objectives: The Key Factors

Key Factors Project Goals Project Objectives
Definition Project goals can be defined as the end result a company wishes to achieve as a long-term gain.

Project goals are ascertained on the basis of facts and figures.

Project objectives can be defined as the concrete tasks that need to be executed in order to attain the end result.

Project objectives are ascertained on the basis of ideas and innovative thoughts.

Time Duration Project goals are long-term goals and tend to cover a time period of usually 5-10 years. Project objectives are more concrete and specific. They cover short to mid-term achievements that usually need to be implemented on a daily basis.
Measurability Project goals are difficult to measure, they do not have any criteria or set way to be measured properly. Project objectives are relatively easy to measure. They have set criteria that managers can take into account to measure whether project objectives were met successfully.
Structure Projects goals lack structure as they define long-term gains for an organization. Therefore, they are generic, vague, and abstract in nature. Project objectives are the opposite of project goals, since they are very specific in nature. Objectives are highly structured as they define the short or medium-term achievements of an organization.

Examples of Project Goals and Objectives

Now that we have covered the basic differences between project management goals and project objectives, it is important to really back up our claims with examples. Here are a few examples of project goals and objectives that will make the concept absolutely clear:

Project Goals Project Objectives
 Reduce malnutrition among young children.  Provide relevant information to people regarding malnutrition, what is needed to be done to curb it, and help people achieve this as a whole.
 Expand access to library and electronic information resources among the general public and staff members.  Replace the library’s web server and software. Then, form a web committee that consists of representatives from every department, develop marketing materials to promote the site and aim to increase website traffic
 Strengthen food security in rural communities.  Build warehouses within a specific date and ensure every person in rural areas has access to food stored in a particular warehouse. Categorize warehouses and spread awareness about it.
 Reduce traffic road accidents.  Educate people and make sure they are aware of traffic rules. Deploy more police officers on signals to regulate traffic. Compare data and see whether this tactic reduces road accidents.
Promote gender equality and encourage women empowerment. Spread the word about feminism, spot woman-insulting behavior and speak up. Let women know there is nothing wrong in fighting what is right.
Improve the quality of general education Screen teachers diligently and administer tests to hire the right teacher for the job. Make sure teachers don’t only focus on bookish knowledge, but also have students’ best interests at heart and teach them life values as well.

Project Goals & Objectives: Know the Difference!

So, now you know! The project goal is the complete picture that is achieved by completing different sub-goals or project objectives. Now, the example given in our introduction must be clear after understanding all the key points covered in this article. 

So, among the two options given, what is the project goal and what will be the objective?


“What the client needs” is the project goal but the steps explained on “how the client needs can be achieved”, that combined is the project objective. 

If you can answer this question without biting your nails or thinking twice – that’s great! You know the difference between project goals and objectives!

Now that you can easily explain the difference between project goals and project objectives, let’s move on to the next chapter: how do you prepare your teams for perfect project execution.  

Summary Questions:

Now that you have a little idea about project goals and objectives, let us cover a few basic questions around the difference:

Q1. What are the objectives of project management?

Project management objectives can be defined as the successful implementation of different project phases. 

Q2. How do you define project goals and objectives?

Objectives can be defined as lower-level statements that define tangible, specific projects and deliverables. On the other hand, goals can be defined as high-level statements that define what a project is trying to achieve.

Q3. What is the difference between project goal and objective?

There is a lot of difference between a project goal and project objective. A project objective is short-term, practical achievements whereas a project goal is long-term achievements a company wants to reach.

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About the author

David is a Project Management expert. He has been published in elearningindustry.com, simpleprogrammer.com. As a project planning and execution expert at ProProfs, he has offered a unique outlook on improving workflows and team efficiency. Connect with David for more engaging conversations on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.