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TIG Project Evaluation Plan: Specifying Objectives

Evaluation plan objectives should:

  • Specify the extent to which and ways the technology or technology system will enhance client services and/or program operations.
  • Identify the project’s specific “deliverables.”
  • Provide the measurable criteria project managers will use to assess and document a project’s accomplishments.
  • Are more specific, concrete, short-term and measurable than goals.

Because of the relationships and differences between goals and objectives (see box below), goals almost invariably will have two or more corresponding objectives.  As a consequence, evaluation plans will have multiple objectives.

Examples of Project Objectives (Each objective is for a different project and thus is associated with a different goal.)

Objective 1 for Project 1:  Conduct needs assessment to identify: (1) Training content (e.g., substantive law topics) volunteer attorneys prioritize and (2) Extent and ways in which web-based technologies can meet volunteer attorneys’ training needs.

Objective 1 for Project 2:  Use A2J Author and HotDocs to create guided interviews and court form templates that enable pro se litigants to easily produce accurate pro se pleadings. Produce 10 guided interviews and 12 interactive court forms in the following substantive law areas: Fee Waiver, Small Claims, Evictions, Protection Orders and Divorce without Children.

Objective 1 for Project 3: Adapt, develop and implement current YouTube technology  as a free and viable way of using streaming video to provide streaming video (video fact sheets) that are easily accessible by low-income persons, pro bono attorneys and legal aid advocates.

Goals vs. Objectives

Goals and objectives are similar in that they both articulate what project managers hope to achieve. However, there are important distinctions between them.

Goals should specify a project's broad and long term intended results for (or impact on) a specified target population. Objectives are more specific, concrete, short-term and measurable; they identify the project's specific “deliverables” and constitute the measures managers use to assess a project's achievements.

In relative terms:

  • Goals are broad; objectives are narrow and specific
  • Goals are long-term; objectives are short term
  • Goals are abstract; objectives are concrete
  • Goals are general intentions; objectives are precise.
  • Goals are difficult to quantify; objectives are measurable

Note that some projects may have outcome (or output) objectives as well as process (implementation) objectives. Outcome objectives specify the impact on or services provided to the target population. (More precisely, outcomes are the identifiable impacts on or changes produced in the target population while outputs are the services or products provided to the population.) Process objectives are the steps required to achieve the outcomes. Process objectives can overlap with strategies and activities.