Differentiating Project Management Objectives from Project Management Goals

Project Management Metrics is often based nowadays on the EVM system, which stands for earned value measurement. The metrics themselves that fall under EVM are: schedule performance index, schedule variance, estimate at completion, cost performance index, and cost variance.

This does not mean that Project Management Metrics are limited to those listed above – actually, metrics may surpass the list given because Project Management initiators need to answer certain basic questions about the project in order to determine what metrics to measure it against.

The questions could be: Is customer satisfaction monitoring at a mature level in the internal organizational system, to allow metrics for this to be used? Can product requirements be traced in the system, even if they are quite complex and numerous? Does the organization need to acquire special test equipment for this purpose? Is support infrastructure necessary as well? How are the environments where the product will be employed be thoroughly defined? Are the product design requirement parameters stable or unstable? Have the system and sub-system tests been enumerated completely? Have decision makers been able to create a thorough issue tracking and failure evaluation system? Does the project face any risks, and if so, has the Risk Management system been upgraded over time?

When adequate Project Management Metrics have been listed down, there should also be an effort to determine the indicators that will alert the Project Manager when he/she should initiate corrective action. It is believed that with the right information gleaned in a timely fashion from the metrics, the project team should find Project Implementation to be successful.


When we talk about Project Management Objectives, we could be
following the system denoted by the acronym S.M.A.R.T. The letters of
the acronym stand for the adjectives Specific, Measurable (or perhaps
evaluable) achievement, Achievable/Acceptable, Realistic, and then
Time-terminated/-bounded activities.

Basically, when we talk about project management objectives, we are
trying to clearly state the purpose of the project we are undertaking
or what it should be able to achieve over a certain period of time.
Inevitably, talking about objectives should be associated with the
potential business value of the project to our organization.

A project management goal differs from a project management
objective, even if both are used in one and the same project. You may
say a project management goal will define the holistic context in
which the project will exist and attempt to achieve its purpose,
while staying aligned with business goals. On the other hand, we also
have a project management objective which breaks down the goal into
definite measurable achievements (like creation of a particular
product and/or service) which are the tangible results of undertaking
such a project.

A project management goal may be worded so broadly and have such a
comprehensive meaning that it may be achievable only through
successive projects being implemented. Some say that if you can
define your project management goal and then accomplish it within one
project cycle, then perhaps you set your management goal too low and
should have defined it as a project management objective instead.

While a project management goal may have abstract and broadly-worded
language, a project management objective ought to adhere to the
S.M.A.R.T. system previously mentioned. Thus, a project management
objective would have more concrete proof of being accomplished,
compared to the project management goal.