Have You Considered a Career in Project Management?
Perhaps you’ve never thought of becoming a project manager. But guess what? If you are proficient with setting and achieving goals, you have a basis for a new career. After all, when you manage a project, you’ll need to create a list of tasks and put deadlines around them.
That is similar to what you do when you set goals and create objectives for those goals. When you work in a team, you may find yourself taking the lead on keeping track of the goals and tasks of your team. This responsibility could fall with your manager, but if you simply take it upon yourself, your manager probably won’t object.
He or she is busy after all. It will also show leadership skills in you. If you do take on this role, you will be acting as a project manager at that point, or at least the project leader. You will need to become familiar with the teams’ activities or tasks, and you’ll need to hold the team accountable.
You may initially take some heat from the team as you are not officially the lead. You took it upon yourself. But, if your manager accepts your role, the team will likely follow suit shortly after that. This transition will become easier over time, and the team will allow you to keep on top of their tasks.
There are some activities of a project leader that are outside the space of goal setting. You may need to ensure that the critical paths are listed and ensure that they are achieved before moving on to the next tasks. A critical path is when one task must be completed before a dependent task can even be started.
Another task that is outside the role of goal setting is communicating with the stakeholders of a project. These are the people responsible for making sure company initiatives are met (often the fund providers). When you are dealing with business goal setting, the stakeholder is usually your manager.
A project leader will need to involve stakeholders during the life-cycle of the project (another term not typically associated with goal setting). In the early stages of your project manager role, your manager may still take the lead in dealing with the stakeholders.
There are other tasks that goal management would not cover that would be covered by a project manager. Some companies require formal training to become a project manager. But, becoming proficient in goal setting is certainly a great first step in the process.
How Are Your Business Goals Progressing?
Without any ability to measure business goals, they become meaningless. You can set goals until the cows come home, but you can’t accomplish them. Using benchmarks and milestones can be of great help when measuring goals.
If you can find a benchmark on a particular goal or set of tasks, this can be used as a rough estimate of how long something should take and what
kinds of procedures were used. This is by far, the best scenario because you have a guideline to refer.
If you don’t find a benchmark, then you will have to make a ballpark guess. You also won’t know how successful the tasks were. Milestones are a great tool to keep everyone in the game. You can either set up the milestones for each task or you can have one milestone for the goal.
The person responsible for this particular goal will choose how to complete the underlying tasks, as long as they get them all done by the milestone date. Some managers will choose a combination of milestones for the goal as well as the tasks. In fact, a project management tool would summarize the milestones for the tasks and roll them up as a single date for the goal.
On occasion, situations will come up that make it impossible to get the tasks completed in time. They may need sign off from upper management, and this was not known when the tasks were set. The materials to accomplish the goals may not be available by a supplier and finding alternatives push the dates out into the future.
The person responsible for completing the tasks may rely on input from another department in the company, and that other department is not cooperating. These are all valid delays that a manager will need to account for If there are valid delays, try to reallocate the person who was working on those tasks onto something else.
Perhaps he can help other members get their tasks completed faster. Or, the person experiencing the delays can perform auxiliary tasks for other team members such as getting signatures or information from groups willing to cooperate.
Check back soon for Issue 3 of Setting & Achieving Business Goals as we continue to look at the importance of goal setting for business success.