This contribution presents a systematic for the elicitation of objectives and the utilization of objectives to identify reference products. The systematic is based on existing meta models. The model of objectives as proposed in this research eases decision-making and outlines the next validation activities. A key success factor is the project transferability between teams, which is often necessary in predevelopment. This is ensured through comprehensibility of objectives which benefits from the linkage between the model of objectives and the knowledge base. The proposed systematic is applied to a predevelopment project which is used as case study. In the case study it has been shown that objectives can be used to identify reference products. The approach is validated in a live-lab setting with seven engineering teams with six graduate students, two engineers of an industrial partner and a research associate. Several workshops were used to train all members of the teams in the systematic. The effects of the systematic are assessed in dedicated interviews, a survey as well as with observation of the engineering teams during milestones and engineering activities between milestones.