I was reviewing some of the material from a Project Management Office (PMO) recently and opened up a couple of examples of Project Initiation Documents (PIDs). I was surprised to see that even these “project professionals” managed to get “objectives” and “deliverables” muddled up.
Objectives must define desired benefits, outcomes or performance improvements that you expect from the project. What you need to measure on your project will naturally fall out of the definition of good objectives. They should not describe what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, or what you plan to produce.
Deliverables are the tangible things that the project will produce to enable the objectives to be achieved. These may also be called “outputs” or “products”. Too many Project Initiation Documents specify Deliverables as their objectives. Deliverables are only produced in order to enable achievement of the objectives. Deliverables are not “outcomes”.
People in the business are often confused by project management language and think it is too much about bureaucratic form-filling. The role of the PMO is to help these people manage successful projects by cutting through the jargon and getting the basics right.
You may like to read these two papers I’ve written:
Objectives, Measurements and Deliverables: a Quick Guide