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How to set goals and achieve them


If you want to be a great project manager, you’ll need to be extremely good at setting goals and achieving them. Every project has a defined delivery date, so you need to be goal-oriented if you want to deliver your project on time. Taylor Williams tells us how.

Identify what’s important

In projects, everything is a priority. Take time to sit down with your project sponsor and identify what is really important to achieve. Ask them this question: ”If there were three critical things that the project had to deliver, then what would they be?”

The three things might be delivering on time, under budget and to specification. Or they might be producing three key deliveries or even three major business benefits.

Specify the goals clearly

Take these three important things and turn them into the project goals. Remember to make your goals SMART- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

So why only have three goals? It’s simple. There’s so much that goes on in a project that if you have too many goals, they won’t be front-of-mind and may get diluted. It’s much easier to remember and focus on three things long-term. That’s also why you need to keep them short and simple. If you set five or more goals, then you’ll probably forget them within a week, making them harder to achieve.

Communicate them

Print your new goals and put them on the wall by your desk or in another visible place. Then take your team out for lunch and tell them what the three goals are and why they are important to achieve.

Tell your other stakeholders about them, including any contractors, suppliers, and business representatives that may involved with the project. Make sure everyone in the project knows what has to be done and by when so you’re all on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Set an action plan

Having the goals in front of you every day will help, but you need to take them seriously and create an action plan to achieve them. Revisit your project plan and identify all the tasks that will specifically help you achieve your three goals.

These tasks are now the high priority tasks for the project and together, they form your action plan. Assign your best resource to these high priority tasks and make sure they have everything they need to achieve them.

Keep an eye on progress

As a project manager, you can’t watch everything. Focus on the high priority tasks in your plan. Track their progress and resolve issues that arise with them, as quickly as possible. Personally verse them if you need to. If they slip, then take quick action to bring them back on track. Do everything in your power to make sure that these high priority tasks are completed on time, so that you can achieve your three goals and lead your project to success.

Taylor Williams is a writer and manages a web development team at Project Manager. He has experience working in small businesses and assisting larger businesses with ERP software and project delivery. This feature is an excerpt from the eBook “How to be a Great Project Manager” from the library of free resources


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