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SMART Goal Setting & Project Planning
Motivated people not only think about what they want to achieve, but they also give attention to processes and take actions to accomplish their goals. They frequently think about what blocks or obstacles they might encounter & where they can get help.
78% of a group of IT and business professionals reported that their business was not aligned with project goals.
All project managers vary in what triggers them. Most of them are motivated by 3 primary things- the opportunity to work with other professionals, the capacity to convince the organization, and the desire to meet the objectives with task accomplishment.
Project success depends on each person taking responsibility for their own actions and developing appropriate change and improvement goals.
Only 64% of projects meet their goal.
Before you get too far into the project, you need to step back and plan the work. If you want successful project management, you need a bigger picture view of everything that needs to be done and how they can be leveraged.
That's what proper goal setting and planning offers. Yes, it might slow down the start of the doing, but definitely, it can save you a ton of time in solving the flaws.
Read on to get everything you need to know about proper goal setting and project planning. It's our ultimate guide to taking off your project right.
SMART Goal Setting For Project Management
Goal setting is an essential part of project planning. Good project managers understand the importance of setting the right goal to deliver projects successfully and impress clients and stakeholders.
With projects getting bigger and complicated, project managers have to look beyond the general requirements, timelines, and budgets and start emphasizing on setting SMART goals.
Before implementing SMART goals, do you know what exactly a Project Goal is?
Join 6,532 project managers to get practical and actionable insights on project management.
What is Project Goal?
A project goal defines the project results. It provides a link between the project and its direct effects.
More than 80% of managers say that their goals are limited in number, specific, and measurable.
Poorly defined goals or goals without objectives, pushes a project into overruns, conflicts, missed milestones, territory battles, and unhappy clients.
Why do you need to set Goals?
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.
Ok, so this isn't the first time you've heard someone talk about the importance of goals, and it’s surely not going to be the last
But apart from these things, understanding the importance of goal setting and knowing how to set goals for you is vital to accomplishing great things. Here are the top 6 major reasons why you need to set goals for yourself. So proper goal setting-
- Propels you forward
- Transforms impossible ways into possible one
- Helps us believe in ourselves
- Holds you accountable for failure
- Tells you what you truly want
- Helps us to complete our project in-time
SMART Goals in project management:
Technology is rising vigorously. Project managers are trying to figure out the best solution to succeed. Now the question arises, what type of goal should be set up? What are the guidelines to follow while creating SMART goals?
In project management, SMART is a term that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound
It mainly refers to the criteria of setting goals and objectives in a way they can be easily achieved. The whole concept behind this is to increase effectiveness.
Specific: Goals must be clearly defined
If you aim at nothing, you will hit every time.
Imagine you have to shoot an arrow without being given a target. Where you would aim? This is a common example of what you may face without a goal or target in mind. Just like how sun rays can’t burn anything without a magnifying glass.
The same thing may happen in project management as well without a project goal.
Most organizations have a 70 percent project failure rate.
Project goals must be easy-to-comprehend and well-defined. Multiple members work in a project & it's possible that each one of them may have a different understanding of the objectives.
So the project goals must define the 5 W's (who, what, when, where, and why) regarding the project.
A clear goal can
- Give direction
- Show progress
- Help prioritize
- Kill procrastination
- Give motivation
Measurable: Your goals must be trackable
Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress towards the achievement of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you reach your target dates, stay on track, and experience the success.
Proper measurement indicates your actual position in the progress chart and how much work is left to do.
Before wrapping up the day, it's important to check the work you’ve done on that particular day as it might boost the morale of team members and encourage them to work harder
Project management software like that of Orangescrum can be used to plan goals and tracking the overall project progress.
Achievable: Make sure your goals are feasible
When you identify goals that are important to you, you start to figure out the ways you can make them come true. You develop strategies, abilities, and skills to achieve them. You can achieve almost every goal if you plan your steps wisely.
Goals that may have appeared far away gradually move closer and become attainable. It's not because your goals shrink, but because you expand to match them. When you list out your goals, you build your self-image. You see your goals can be achievable and develop the attributes that help you to achieve them.
Similarly, every project manager should set goals that are actually feasible and respectively accepted by the team members. For a project manager, it's helpful to have a complete idea of the strengths and weaknesses of team members. Hence, the project manager can be able to know what should be assigned to whom.
Realistic: Make sure your goals are practical
Only 2.5% of companies complete 100% of their projects successfully.
A realistic goal accommodates real-life challenges and allows room for improvisation by the individuals involved. It is impossible that everyone's focus will be on the same goal all the time. There are always other major issues needing attention. Moreover, the goal must be relevant to those who are going to work on it.
Setting unrealistic expectations could lead to failed projects. All the goals, milestones, and objectives included in the project should be achievable. It is vital to consider factors like resources, costs, time, and risks
Realistic is therefore about the feasibility of the goals. They must have the capacity, resources, and authority to get started and achieved. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished.
Time-bound: Your goal must have a deadline
Organizations with 80% or more of projects being completed on time and on budget waste significantly less money due to poor project performance.
If you have no idea what is a fair deadline to set for a goal, then I'm sure you should set one. You must prepare one to properly invest time on that particular project. Along with that, if you’re not setting up your deadline, then you can’t be able to finish your project in-time. Properly manage your resources so that deadlines won't suffer.
Goal setting isn't limited just by writing down your goals on a paper or a project management tool. Rather it also comprises multiple other practices like getting the right people on board, building an effective framework, finding high-impact initiatives, and so on.
So you've found the goals and objectives of your project. Then what’s next?
Build a PLAN.
A proper plan helps you to define the full scope of a project but it also helps you stay focused, set goals and objectives, meet deadlines, measure success and debrief the entire project.
The Ultimate Guide to Project Planning
Specific: Goals must be clearly defined
There's a misconception that many people think- project planning and project scheduling are common. That is the list of tasks and dates that define you what to do and when.
But let me clarify- the schedule is a part of the project plan, but it is NOT the only part.
Project planning is a method for asserting how to complete a project within a specific time frame, with defined stages, and within assigned resources.
49% of 840 federally funded projects were found to be poorly planned, poorly performing, or both.
Project planning carries the following activities:
- Setting objectives
- Planning the schedule
- Identifying deliverables
- Making supporting plans
P.S- Supporting plans include those related to- risk management, human resource, and communication methods
Proper project planning keeps everything running smoothly. It carries different processes like the budgeting process, change management process, what quality measure is important and so on.
Why have a plan?
Well, think in this way- can you build a house without a plan? Well, chances are probably NOT. it sounds stupid even think of building a house without a plan. Then why to do this in business?
"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now"
Many people don't see the value of having a plan. But we must comprise the benefits of properly planning your projects. But we must comprise the pros of proper project planning. It's the first step to success and without your first step, you can't move forward.
Hundreds of reasons are there for proper project planning. Here, I've shortlisted 5 common reasons why a project plan is important!
- Defines the scope of the project
- Identifies the key roles of resources
- Finds out challenges
- Helps in project estimation & management
- Defines goals, objectives, and deadlines
Planning streamlines the doing.
So follow proper project planning and keep your projects on track.
Suppose you're convinced to go for the project planning. Now the next question arises, how long does it take to plan! Let's see…
How long it takes to plan?
The best way to estimate how long your project planning will take is to look at similar projects which have completed before and check how long it took them to complete.
The elements of project planning:
A good project plan makes any project manager's life easier. From restricting scope creep, missed goals, and over budget to minimizing frustration and stress.
But what exactly goes into a good project plan?
Include these 10 essential elements in your project plan to keep your team running smoothly and your stakeholders satisfied!
- Outline business and stakeholder needs
- List of requirements and project objectives
- Project scope statement
- List of delivery and estimated dates
- Detailed project schedule
- Risk assessment and management plan
- Defined roles and responsibilities
- Resource allocation
- Quality assurance or QA plan
- Communication plan
How to create a project plan?
Spend more time with your team:
- clarifying what you need to achieve together
- working out the processes you need to get there
- developing a plan for how you are going to take this forward
Ultimately, the project manager is responsible for making the project plan and while you can’t make up all the content yourself, you’ll be the one banging the keys to type it all out. Use templates where you can save time.
5 Basic stages of making a project plan
- Define the direction
- Identify tasks and set up online tools
- Be fearless and link tasks
- Assign resources
- Set the baseline and monitor process
Goals help people to build clear plans for what they need to achieve and how they will leverage those achievements. Without a goal, a person has no clear plan for success.
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My team (Hailstorm-Development) and I LOVE Orangescrum! We are a flexi-time remote business solution specialist agency, and this tool has enabled us to actually create this company. Without you all, we wouldn't even exist!