Best of PMTimes: The Five Goals of a Project Manager
As a project manager, you need to manage people, money, suppliers, equipment—the list is never ending. The trick is to be focused. Set yourself five personal goals to achieve. If you can meet these simple goals for each project, then you will achieve total success.
These goals are generic to all industries and all types of projects. Regardless of your level of experience in project management, set these five goals for every project you manage.
Goal 1: To Finish on Time
This is the oldest but trickiest goal in the book. It’s the most difficult because the requirements often change during the project and the schedule was probably optimistic in the first place.
To succeed, you need to manage your scope very carefully. Implement a change control process so that any changes to the scope are properly managed.
Always keep your plan up to date, recording actual vs. planned progress. Identify any deviations from plan and fix them quickly.
Goal 2: To Finish Under Budget
To make sure that your project costs don’t spiral, you need to set a project budget at the start to compare against. Include in this budget, all the types of project costs that will accrue, whether they are to do with people, equipment, suppliers or materials. Then work out how much each task in your plan is going to cost to complete and track any deviations from this plan.
Make sure that if you over-spend on some tasks, that you under-spend on others. In this way, you can control your spend and deliver under budget.
Goal 3: To Meet the Requirements
The goal here is to meet the requirements that were set for the project at the start. Whether the requirements were to install a new IT system, build a bridge or implement new processes, your project needs to produce solutions which meet these requirements 100%.
The trick here is to make sure that you have a detailed enough set of requirements at the beginning. If they are ambiguous in any way, then what was initially seen as a small piece of work could become huge, taking up valuable time and resources to complete.
Goal 4: To Keep Customers Happy
You could finish your project on time, under budget and have met 100% of the requirements—but still have unhappy customers. This is usually because their expectations have changed since the project started and have not been properly managed.
To ensure that your project sponsor, customer and other stakeholders are happy at the end of your project, you need to manage their expectations carefully. Make sure you always keep them properly informed of progress. “Keep it real” by giving them a crystal clear view of progress to date. Let them voice their concerns or ideas regularly. Tell them upfront when you can’t deliver on time, or when a change needs to be made. Openness and honesty are always the best tools for setting customer expectations.
Goal 5: To Ensure a Happy Team
If you can do all of this with a happy team, then you’ll be more than willing to do it all again for the next project. And that’s how your staff will feel also. Staff satisfaction is critical to your project’s success.
So keep your team happy by rewarding and recognizing them for their successes. Assign them work that complements their strengths and conduct team building exercises to boost morale. With a happy motivated team, you can achieve anything!
And there you have it. The five goals you need to set yourself for every project.
Of course, you should always work smart to achieve these goals more easily.