Thursday, April 4, 2013

W22_Austin_Setting Realistic Goals for Project Success

1.    Problem recognition, definition and evaluation
At the start of a new year, goal setting is the norm in my company. Effectively, managers are requested to constantly review their goals that they have set for the year, to determine whether they are on track. Whatever the case, setting realistic, achievable goals are the way to ensure that managers are able to meet their goals over the course of the year. The problem statement is to determine the most realistic goal setting technique in Project Management.

Goals typically fall within three categories:
1.    Organizational Goals – These are specific goals that directly affect the company rather than different facets of the company.  Knowing and striving to meet these goals is important, however project managers do not have much control over the greater organization as they might over a team or smaller unit.

2.    Unit Goals (The department) - As a unit or department however, goals are set according to specific focus areas that need to be achieved by the department or smaller group.

3.    Individual Goals (The Project Manager) - As a project manager or individual within the unit, individual goals are the easiest to achieve as you have full control over your own tasks and abilities.

2.    Development of the feasible alternatives
Goals setting technique can be as simple or definitive as possible – it could be Conservative, Ambitious or Smart as the case may be:
Conservative – Reluctant to accept changes, thereby preserving the status quo, traditional values and customs against abrupt and necessary changes.
Ambitious - Sounding impressive but difficult to achieve because very high standards have been set or a great deal of work is required.
SMART - is a technique of evaluating goals, projects and objectives across many different disciplines.  Well-known author and business consultant Peter Drucker is credited with coining the term, SMART, in his 1954 book, “The Practice of Management” based on following criteria:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Time-Bound
3.    Development of the outcomes and cash flows for each
4.    Selection of the acceptable criteria
When designated number of objectives have been set across each type of goal, or perhaps focused on just one category. Whatever the case, understanding how different goals have different outcomes, measurements and targets is key to achieving them with greater success.
5.  Analysis and Comparison of the alternatives
To trim down the ambitious goals to realistic specifications, it is advisable to hold meetings with all departments to brainstorm and gauge the feasibility of projected goals, evaluated against acceptable SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

6.    Selection of the preferred alternative
When writing out the goals, each goal should be evaluated against SMART criteria. If the goal fails in any of these areas, it may be required to make some revisions. Hence, the SMART model is a great technique to measure the success during regular goal check-ins.

7.    Performance Monitoring and Post Evaluation of Results
During post monitoring and evaluation period, taking an ambitious plan and trimming it down to more realistic proportions (SMART) is far more challenging and productive than starting with a conservative plan and failing to push it to its true limits.

8.    References/Bibliography
1.    GOAL/QPC Pocket Memory Joggers:
GOAL/QPC offers people practical tools for continuous improvement, quality, and organizational transformation. Best known for our Memory Jogger series:

2.    Flavio, Martins Mar 23, 2013 – Effective managers are constantly reviewing the goals that they have set for the year, to determine whether they are on track:

List of leading project management organizations and resources for ... Use this list of the top U.S. and international project management organizations to access ...

1 comment:

  1. EXCELLENT, Austin!!! Very nice work!!

    Very impressed that out of all the Shell people who joined, you are the only one who actually took full advantage of what this course had to offer.

    I don't think you will have any problems passing the CCC/E exam.

    Truly hope you are able to make it for the 3 Day Final Review Session. You have certainly earned the right to be there.

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta