7 Best Practices for Goal-setting in Project Management

Every project needs goals to keep it on track

Setting goals in project management can help you assess how your team is doing, what’s working, and what needs improvement. Without goals, your team could flounder and lose valuable time on projects. Here are some best practices for project management goal setting.

1. Start with where you are and where you want to be.

The first step to setting effective goals is to assess where you currently stand with the project. Next, you need to figure out where you want to be. Both of these are necessary to set effective goals and should be considered as goals are set.

2. Break goals down into smaller parts.

Large goals are difficult to attain because they tend to be vague and not easily understood. Team members will find it hard to decide how to approach large goals. Breaking them down into steps that are easy to follow and show a clear path toward the eventual goal will help things stay on track.

3. Make goals specific and measurable.

In addition to breaking goals down into smaller parts, they should be specific, giving a clear picture of what reaching each goal looks like. Instead of “provide excellent customer service to the client,” for example, a specific and measurable goal would be “resolving 100 percent of client concerns and complaints within three interactions.”

4. Match goals to team members’ strengths.

Project management goal setting
Project managers who set goals have happier, more successful teams.

Goals that match team members’ strengths will come easier to the team and be attained more successfully. Team members will prefer to work from their strengths and will achieve more in this way than they would when not matched with their strengths.

5. Focus on learning as well as accomplishment.

Goals typically focus on accomplishments, but learning is another worthy aspect of goal setting and can help your team grow and develop over time. Setting goals that involve learning takes a long-term approach to project management that will prove its effectiveness over time.

6. Show relevance of goals to keep the team motivated.

Goals should always be relevant to the team as a whole, but will the team see the relevance? Showing the relevance of each goal will help the team maintain its motivation over the long haul of a project because they can see how goals are related and how they contribute to the end result of a successfully completed project.

7. Agree on what goals mean.

Goals can be detailed and complex, which means that they could be misunderstood by both team members and leaders or clients. Everyone doesn’t have to understand or agree about each specific detail of a goal, but if all parties can agree on what goals mean, they can move forward in a unified fashion. Using effective project management communication skills can help everyone understand and agree on goals.

Florida Tech offers several degrees with a project management focus that can give you the high-level project management skills you need to become a leader in your industry. Learn more about our project management degree program and other opportunities in this popular career path.


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