What Is a Project Goal? (With Benefits, Tips, and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 27, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Setting goals for a project describes the expected long-term effects and results of the project. It's important to outline these goals as early as possible as they may inform every decision in the project lifecycle. Understanding project goals and their importance can help you set measurable goals to ensure a project runs smoothly. In this article, we answer "What is a project goal?", discuss the benefits of setting project goals, provide tips for setting goals for your project, and explore some examples of project goals.

What is a project goal?

You may wonder, "What is a project goal?" It describes the desired state and outcomes that project management teams expect after executing the project. It's a high-level statement aligning with the company's goals and providing an overall context for the expected effects of a project. These goals may facilitate setting and planning milestones and act as a benchmark for success. In addition, they may motivate other team members and help project managers distribute tasks and create a framework that improves certainty during project execution.

Project goals may vary depending on the client's needs and requirements for the product. Project managers use these goals to synchronize team members and ensure they meet deadlines. A good project goal describes the project's effects and connects the project to the company's overall objectives. A project goal statement typically includes This project can contribute to... or other related phrases.

Benefits of setting project goals

Some of the advantages of setting project goals include:

Increasing your achievement

Project goals can help you record extensive achievements when executing a project. For instance, suppose the project team's goal is to improve collaboration and communication skills. If the team achieves these goals, it may foster individual development and help team members accomplish personal goals, such as improving existing skills or developing new ones. Project goals aim to support the organization's larger goals, such as expanding business operations and increasing the company's customer base. Achieving these goals helps management recognize the project team as a valuable asset and provides more professional opportunities for employees.

Related: What Are Sample Goals for Employees? (And How to Set Them)

Focusing on objectives

Creating project goals can help improve the team's concentration and focus on completing specific tasks. These goals create expected outcomes that team members can work toward achieving. In addition, working toward expected results may help professionals adopt more efficient practices to ensure they reach these goals as soon as possible. It may also give them a sense of accomplishment, improving their morale and encouraging them to work better.

Improving operational processes

As project goals set well-defined outcomes, project managers and team members may evaluate their existing operational processes to determine how to optimize them and improve efficiency. Optimizing operational processes may help the project team achieve its goals quickly and improve the organization's future operations. For instance, suppose the goal for a web design team is to complete a website within a time frame. In that case, it may adopt more efficient coding languages and processes to ensure task completion. These strategies then replace existing processes and continue to benefit the organization in later projects.

Related: What Is a Project Management Plan? With Tips and Examples

Enabling professional development

Project managers may delegate tasks and goals to teams or team members. When team members complete these tasks, they gain more experience, knowledge, and recognition in the workplace. Setting project goals can create an opportunity for professional development by allowing team members to work on projects and tasks that help them improve their skills and expertise.

Tips for setting project goals

Here are some tips to guide you during the goal-setting process:

Set measurable goals

It's advisable to set measurable goals to ensure you can track your progress during the project. Quantifiable goals are typically more achievable because they allow you to remain objective when assessing and evaluating team progress and productivity. For instance, suppose the team's goal is to improve the production process. In that case, you can monitor the progress by measuring the standard timeframe to perform a task over time and seeing if it reduces.

Be specific

It's advisable to be explicit when setting your goals to ensure that other team members understand them. For instance, you can consider creating deadlines for each team member to provide opportunities to get feedback and offer clarification where necessary. In addition, an operation framework creates less room for interruption and ensures each team member performs their duties in uniformity.

Create optional goals

Including optional goals can help encourage you and manage work-related stress. Optional goals typically refer to smaller goals that may support the major project goal without being crucial to the project's success. Allowing team members to decide if they want to pursue an objective can help them focus on other tasks while motivating others to take on more challenges in the workplace.

Use several goal types

Consider applying different goal types to your project. For instance, you can implement learning- and performance-based goals in your project. Learning goals typically focus on finishing particular tasks, while performance-based goals are measurable and encourage high productivity. Working toward different goals as the project progresses may engage team members in different ways and help them develop relevant experience and valuable skills.

Consider team members' strengths

It's essential to assess team members' individual and combined strengths when setting project goals. Evaluating the team's capacity ensures that you set challenging yet attainable goals. It also helps you understand how to represent team members' varying expertise and skills as you set these goals. You can use the knowledge to share tasks with specific objectives that address areas that require improvement and facilitate their development.

Related: How to Set Team Goals at Work (With Examples and Tips)

Examples of project goals

Here are some operational areas within an organization that may benefit from project goals:

Communication

Effective communication is essential to completing projects and creating a positive, healthy, and collaborative work environment. Project goals can help create and foster teams' communication through different practices, such as creating clear communication channels, organizing regular meetings, establishing platforms where employees can interact and collaborate, and agreeing on universally acceptable communication methods within the organization. In addition, communication-related project goals can help teams become productive and support the organization's overall objectives.

Related: Project Communication Management (Definition and Steps)

Productivity

Increasing productivity is a typical project goal because it emphasizes making the workforce more efficient, improving customer satisfaction, and increasing revenue. The duties of a project manager require them to meet various deadlines. It's essential for them to identify issues impacting their efficiencies, such as poor organizational and time management skills or workplace distractions. After identifying these issues, project managers may set project goals to increase productivity and improve project delivery.

Integration

Integration involves improving collaboration between operating systems, departments, software, and other resources. Integration can serve as a project management goal because it relates to other objectives. For example, if a company wants to update its operating systems, its IT department can perform this task while conducting software installations for different projects. In addition, project managers may also consider integration when a task requires them to work with various departments. These departments may integrate and collaborate by sharing ideas and operating different processes together.

Procedure developments

Improving and developing procedures is a common goal in project management. Most projects typically have five stages: planning, implementation, execution, completion, and review. In the final stage, project managers may assess whether the procedures aided or inhibited the team's output. They may then use the project's outcome to improve these procedures. In addition, project managers may choose to develop new project-specific strategies when working with innovative products.

Resource optimization

Resource optimization implies that a company closely monitors resources and resource management. This may also include scheduling equipment maintenance for tools not in use and creating schedules to prevent conflict between teams that use the same equipment. Adopting resource optimization as a project goal can help the company eliminate waste. In addition, analyzing project plans may help managers learn if the company is using a particular resource optimally.

Client satisfaction

A common goal for most companies is to improve their client satisfaction rates. Such organizations prioritize delivering high-quality work and meeting deadlines regularly to achieve goals. In some cases, a company may combine client satisfaction with improved communication goals because establishing clear communication channels with customers can help it understand customers' demands and work toward satisfying them. In addition, including the clients in the production and development process may make them more confident in the product or service. It also encourages them to offer their thoughts and feedback because they know the company values their opinions.

Role maximization

A goal for project managers may be maximizing each team member's effectiveness. Improving team members' effectiveness implies ensuring they contribute as much as possible while remaining within the designations of their roles and qualifications. They may adopt various methods to achieve this goal, including additional training, conducting research to help with the project execution, and supporting each team member. In addition, working to improve each team member's output ensures that everybody remains productive and adopts new strategies to meet and surpass their personal and professional goals.

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