Project Team Members and Goals and Objectives


Series on Project Management for Team Members

By Prof Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy


This is the seventh and final article of the series: Project Management for Team Members (aka Project Followership).

Here we will deal with the role of project team members in defining and interpreting project goals and objectives. We believe this topic deserves special attention since in many studies focused on Project Critical Success Factors, project goals and objectives are frequently listed among the top factors. However, to our knowledge, nobody has commented on whether project team members should contribute to the definition of project goals and objectives and how they interpret them.

Before going any further, it is important to clarify what project goals and objectives are. In fact, by surfing the web or reading different project management books, you will find slightly different to very different (and even contrasting) definitions. The first thing we noticed (which surprised us) is that the definition of project goal(s) is not particularly frequent in project management literature, while more attention is paid to the definition of project objectives. For example, the PMBOK® defines objectives and not goals. We also noticed that many books and articles report “project goals and objectives” together and we had the feeling that the terms were used with very similar meanings. Our feelings were supported by the definitions provided in English dictionaries where the difference between goals and objectives is subtle.

For example, The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language defines an objective as something worked toward or striven for; a goal; and goal as the object toward which an endeavor is directed; an end.

Since we do not wish to bore you with all the definitions we found, to summarize, in Table 1 you can find the main differences between Goal and Objective.


To read entire article (click here)



About the Author

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Dr. Marco Sampietro

Milan, Italy



Marco Sampietro
obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen, Germany. Since 2000 he has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Economist rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member at SDA Bocconi School of Management and teaches Project Management in the MBA – Master of Business Administration, and GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration programs. He is Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University, and Visiting Professor at IHU – International Hellenic University, Greece. He is also a Contract Professor at Bocconi University and Milano Fashion Institute for the Project Management courses.

He was a speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, in the USA, and a speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, Italy, 2010.

He is Member of the Steering Committee of IPMA-Italy.

He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Among them: Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014. Finally, he is the author of award-winning case studies and papers.

Dr. Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]

To see other works by Marco Sampietro, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/marco-sampietro/