Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

Project Objectives and Approach

📄 Contents

  1. Solidify Project Objectives
  2. Understand the Project Approach

In the sample chapter from A Project Guide to UX Design: For User Experience Designers in the Field or in the Making, 3rd Edition by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler, the authors discuss the importance of clear project objectives and understanding various project methodologies. The chapter covers how to establish solid project goals and the impact of different approaches like Waterfall and Agile on project management and team dynamics. It also addresses how to handle unclear objectives from project leadership and suggests methods to align project goals with strategic business initiatives.

This chapter is from the book

Know Which Star to Navigate By

One of the keys to a good project is to start the team out with clear project objectives and a well-understood approach. Ideally, the project leadership will have this defined for you—but how do you know if they don’t?

This chapter talks about forming project objectives and offers some questions that will help you solidify those goals. We’ll also discuss some common project approaches (or methodologies) and how they may influence the way you work.

Carolyn Chandler

You’re in the project kickoff, with the full team for the first time. The project manager hands out some materials and gives you an overview of the project. By the end of the meeting, ideally, you should have enough information to answer the following:

  • arrow.jpg Why is the project important to the company?

  • arrow.jpg How will stakeholders determine if the project was a success?

  • arrow.jpg What approach or methodology will the project follow?

  • arrow.jpg What are the major dates or milestones for key points, such as getting approval from business stakeholders?

All of these questions concern the expectations that stakeholders have for the project: what the project will accomplish and how they will be involved in it. The first two questions pertain to the project’s objectives and the last two to the project’s approach.

A project objective is a statement of a measurable goal for the project. Let’s talk about objectives in more detail.

Solidify Project Objectives

Objectives are important focusing lenses that you’ll use throughout the project. They should spring from the client company’s overall business strategy, so the project objectives should be in line with the strategic initiatives within the company. For example, if there is a strategic initiative to appeal to a new group of prospective customers (called a market), the project you’re working on may be an effort to provide that market with better online access to products and services relevant to them. The objective for that project would then be focused on reaching and engaging that market.

A clear objective resonates throughout a project. It helps you:

  • arrow.jpg Ask the right questions as you gather ideas from business stakeholders.

  • arrow.jpg Run discovery activities, such as research with users, and focus your analysis of the results.

  • arrow.jpg Detail the ideas gathered from stakeholders and users and convert them into a consolidated list of project ideas.

  • arrow.jpg Prioritize those project ideas based on their value to the company.

  • arrow.jpg Define the product and its features in order to focus design and development.

  • arrow.jpg Create effective design concepts and prototypes.

  • arrow.jpg Manage requests for changes to the design once development begins.

  • arrow.jpg Focus efforts during deployment activities (such as training and communications to users about the new site or application before and during its launch).

  • arrow.jpg Determine whether you’ve met the needs of the client company, once the project is complete.

When you start a new project, you probably have objectives from the project’s sponsor (the business stakeholder who has direct responsibility for the success of the project or the product manager, if you have one), as well as a set of project-related requests coming from business stakeholders and from customers, but they all may be a bit fuzzy (Figure 4.1). Your goal is to clarify these into a group of solid statements that you can use as a yardstick for the project’s success.


Figure 4.1 Fuzzy objectives, ideas, and needs

A solid objective has three key characteristics. It is:

  • arrow.jpg Easy to understand: Avoid insider terminology.

  • arrow.jpg Distinct: Avoid vague statements; instead, use wording that seems like it will be useful when you’re prioritizing requirements.

  • arrow.jpg Measurable: Make concrete statements that you can set an independent measurement against to determine your success.

As you define a fuzzy objective, making it clear and measurable, it becomes a solid objective that you can base decisions on (Figure 4.2).


Figure 4.2 Objectives being solidified

You’ll hear many statements that could be considered objectives. Analyzing fuzzy ones such as those below will help you solidify your objectives and communicate more effectively within the project team.

“Our objective is to become the market leader in industry x.”

This is an objective for the entire company, but it is too broad for a specific project. Multiple initiatives at the company need to come together to make this happen; any one digital product may help with this but will be very unlikely to be able to handle the entire burden.

“Our objective is to generate excitement among our customer base.”

This one is better, because a digital product could have an impact on this, but it’s still too vague. Why is it important to generate excitement? How does that excitement translate into meeting a business need? And how can you tell if you’ve been successful?

“Our objective is to increase the number of returning users by 10 percent.”

Now we’re getting close. This one is easy to measure, but it’s too focused on an intermediate step. Suppose more users do return after their first experience—it may not help you if people don’t perform the actions you think are important once they get there.

Each of these can be measured and affected by your project. They can also map pretty closely to your designs and the features offered. For example, it’s very common to offer an email newsletter as a way to meet an objective of growing the customer database. To deliver the newsletter you’ll need to capture customer email addresses, which will be added to the database. Objectives may also bring out new product ideas. For example, if you’re measuring success by the average rating given to articles available in your product, you’ll need a feature that allows users to give ratings. In these ways, objectives help you focus as you gather ideas for the product, and these may later become prioritized features.

If there are multiple objectives, be sure to create a prioritized list with your business sponsor and project team. Objectives sometimes conflict with each other during design, and the team will need to know what takes precedence. The final prioritized list of objectives should come from your project sponsor or product manager.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020