Information on project objectives, outputs and outcomes. Definition of the terms and information on how to set and measure them.

Project planning: Objectives, Outputs and Outcomes

Objectives

Summarise the specific objectives of the project. Along with the aims outlined in the project summary they set out what you plan to do.  

Set ‘SMART’ objectives:

  • Specific  Be clear about what will be achieved
  • Measurable  Quantify results and measure when they have been achieved 
  • Achievable  Ensure they can be achieved
  • Realistic  Can be attained with within project resources
  • Timed  Can be attained within a specified timescale.

The aims and objectives will give your project a direction and will allow you to focus on results. Throughout the project, revisit your objectives and measure what you have achieved. At the end of the project they will help you to demonstrate what you have achieved.

Outputs

Most projects create two kinds of outputs:

  • Deliverables  - the tangible outputs like content, software, guidelines, etc
  • Knowledge and experience - the less tangible outputs that should be documented and shared with Jisc and the wider community

You will develop and submit project documents1 -  these are part of the project planning and monitoring process and don't need to be listed in the project outputs section of the project plan.

Deliverables

Make a full list of the project deliverables using the checklist below and include them all in the project plan.

Example Project Deliverables Checklist
Case studies License agreements Reports Technical manuals
Content Methods Scenarios Tools or toolkits
Demonstrators Models Software Training packages or tutorials
Events (e.g. workshops) Pilot services Specifications User interfaces
Guidelines Prototypes Technical designs User manuals

Knowledge and experience

Think about the knowledge and experience you will develop in your project, and how this can be shared in a tangible form. You might want to develop a case study, or write up some hints and tips and post them on your project website. If the knowledge and experience you’ve developed has real critical mass, you may want to act as consultants or advisors to other projects. The project final report is one way to share project work with the community, as are papers at conferences and published articles in journals. 

Changes to the schedule

It could be that new tools and techniques are available, and there are other ways to approach the work and achieve the objectives. By adopting a new tool or approach, you might be able to do the work faster or better, or in a more innovative way. If things are changing and you have new ideas, talk them over with your programme manager. The Jisc Project Requirements state that you must supply all the deliverables specified in the agreed Project Proposal.  The schedule for submitting deliverables must be included in the Project Plan, as appropriate, and agreed with us.  Any changes to this schedule must be agreed in advance in writing and all project deliverables are subject to our approval.

Project outcomes

List the outcomes you envisage, the changes your project will stimulate or enable, and their likely impact on the teaching, learning, and research communities. 

Outcomes are quite distinct from the deliverables you will create. Think of what people will be able to do better, faster, or more efficiently, or things they could never do before. Then think of the impact that this will have on users, their institutions, and on the education and research communities generally. 

For example, a  MLE will change how teachers teach or how students learn. A portal will change how students and researchers access information. 

Throughout the project, reflect on the outcomes you envisage and how they will happen. Dissemination  and getting a buy-in from stakeholders will be important for take-up.