Formulate clear project objectives. One of the first and foremost things that need to be done in any briefing process is to identify the clients objectives. What does the client want to achieve with the project from a strategic perspective?For example, hospitals may want to reduce treatment times, schools may want to use the project to attract more students, hotels will aim to increase their occupancy rates and office organizations may look for increased staff performance. The difficulty with client objectives is that they tend to be very broadtoo broad to give real input to the design process. Clients should therefore be challenged to go beyond vague statements and to concretize their ideas. For example, what does increasing staff performance mean in relation to an office project? Does that mean a very lively building where employees perform better because of the constant exchange of ideas? Or, conversely, a very quiet building where people are productive because there are few distractions?Or perhaps a very healthy building, with fitness rooms and ergonomic furniture, in the hope that such a building helps to reduce health-related absenteeism?Next to concretizing objectives, it will be useful to prioritize them. Clients often have multiple objectives which may be competing with one another. The basic question is then: Which objectives are more important than others? Is cost efficiency for example at the top of the clients priority list, or is it user satisfaction? And where does sustainability lie on the list? Clients may argue that all their objectives are equally important, but sooner or later in the course of the project trade-offs will have to be made, and at that point it will be helpful to know what is most important to the client.Traditional management wisdom says that project objectives should be measurable to make them actionable. But that is not always possible. Objectives related to the costs of the project or its carbon footprint are fairly easy to quantify, but objectives related to user experience or architectural quality are not. That does not make such objectives any less important. As the saying goes: Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted, counts. There should thus be room for both soft and hard objectives in the brief.Recommendations-Do not overload the project with objectives, otherwise there is no focus.-Prioritize objectives when the client has multiple, competing aimsfor example, by drawing upa top five.-Try to avoid vague management-speak and clichs when formulating project objectives. -Try to link the project objectives to the clients general business objectives.-Where possible, link objectives to measurable KPIs (key performance indicators) so they canbe tested and evaluated.-Make sure that the projects decision makers (i.e. steering committee) own the formulated. objectives and are willing to stand up for them when the project comes under pressure.