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Why Realistic Goals Matter — and How to Set Them

Unrealistic Goals SHOULDN'T be the Standard

The setting of unrealistic goals is almost an accepted practice in IT. The CEO asks for a project to be completed that not only challenges scheduling constraints but also knowledge constraints—and IT agrees only because it knows that they’ll be able to change that goal incrementally as the project begins to become less and less realistic.

But rather than going through that song-and-dance, consider setting realistic goals from the start. Using a PMO to create realistic short and long-term goals is vitally important, according to blog author Dave Wakeman, PMP. By starting with realistic goals, you assure that the team is motivated by each milestone achieved, as the reasonable expectations are able to be reached and are counting towards a very possible success.

Clarity Above All Else

Wakeman starts by suggesting that you first “ensure clarity of project goal”:

To effectively set proper goals for your team, you need to make sure that your goals are in line with the project's objectives. Too often projects go astray because the project's goals aren't clear or don't align with the business objectives of the parent organization. This can be managed by making sure that you clarify the project's goals at the very start. For example, set up a meeting with your sponsor or executives to talk about project objectives, how they will be measured, and the sponsor's role and responsibilities. This simple step ensures that you have clarification and can work with your team to set goals that are in line with sponsor expectations.

He goes on to share that taking a short and long view of the project is equally important. What he means is this: it’s easy to see the end goal as the only important part of the project—but that simply isn’t true. Achieving milestone goals are just as important, if not more so. Setting these short-term goals allow your team to see progress and feel the sense of accomplishment that will help carry them all the way to the finish line.

Read the full post here: http://blogs.pmi.org/blog/voices_on_project_management/2014/04/why-realistic-goals-matter-and.html

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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