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spike bullet May 2010 - Project Management Tips: The 5 Goals of a Project Manager

The 5 goals of a project Manager
Resources (links, books, articles, the lighter side, software)
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color bulletProject Management Tips

By Jason Westland

As a Project Manager, you need to manage people, money, suppliers, equipment-the list is never ending.  The trick is to be focused. 

Set yourself 5 personal goals to achieve.  If you can meet these simple goals for each project, then you will achieve total success.  So read on, to learn . . .

The 5 Goals of a Project Manager

These goals are generic to all industries and all types of projects.  

Regardless of your level of experience in project management, set these 5 goals for every project you manage.

Goal 1: To finish on time

This is the oldest but trickiest goal in the book.  

It's the most difficult because the requirements often change during the project and the schedule was probably optimistic in the first place.

  • To succeed, you need to manage your scope very carefully. 
  • Implement a change control process so that any changes to the scope are properly managed.
  • Always keep your plan up to date, recording actual vs. planned progress. 
  • Identify any deviations from plan and fix them quickly.

Goal 2: To finish under budget

To make sure that your project costs don't spiral, you need to set a project budget at the start to compare against.  

Include in this budget, all of the types of project costs that will accrue, whether they are to do with people, equipment, suppliers or materials.  Then work out how much each task in your plan is going to cost to complete and track any deviations from this plan.

Make sure that if you over-spend on some tasks, that you under-spend on others.  In this way, you can control your spending and deliver under budget.

Goal 3: To meet the requirements

The goal here is to meet the requirements that were set for the project at the start.  Whether the requirements were to install a new IT system, build a bridge or implement new processes, your project needs to produce solutions that meet these requirements 100%.

The trick here is to make sure that you have a detailed enough set of requirements at the beginning.  

If they are ambiguous in any way, then what was initially seen as a small piece of work could become huge, taking up valuable time and resources to complete.

Goal 4: To keep customers happy

You could finish your project on time, under budget and have met 100% of the requirements-but still have unhappy customers.  This is usually because their expectations have changed since the project started and have not been properly managed.

To ensure that your project sponsor, customer and other stakeholders are happy at the end of your project, you need to manage their expectations carefully.  

  • Make sure you always keep them properly informed of progress. 
  • "Keep it real" by giving them a crystal clear view of progress to date.  
  • Let them voice their concerns or ideas regularly.  
  • Tell them upfront when you can't deliver on time, or when a change needs to be made.  
  • Openness and honesty are always the best tools for setting customer expectations.

Goal 5: To ensure a happy team

If you can do all of this with a happy team, then you'll be more than willing to do it all again for the next project.  And that's how your staff will feel also.  

  • Staff satisfaction is critical to your project's success.
  • So keep your team happy by rewarding and recognizing them for their successes.  
  • Assign them work that complements their strengths and conduct team building exercises to boost morale.  
  • With a happy motivated team, you can achieve anything!

And there you have it.  The 5 goals you need to set yourself for every project.

Of course, you should always work smart to achieve these goals more easily.

About the author: Copyright 2010 Jason Westland, all rights reserved.  Used with permission of the author.  Jason Westland, CEO of Project Manager Online Ltd, has 15 years experience in the project management industry.  From his experience, he has created software to help speed up the management process.  If you would like to find out more information about Jason's online project management software, visit (software) or (online project management subscription service)

  Internet Resources

book graphic  Books   -  Disclosure: We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon.

  • Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork, Laurie Beth Jones, 2002.  Crown Business.  ISBN 0-609-60679-4
  • The One to One Manager: Real-World Lessons in Customer Relationship Management, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, 2000.  Currency/Doubleday.  ISBN 0-385-50229-X
  • Project Management Tool Kit, The: 100 Tips and Techniques for Getting the Job Done Right.  Tom Kendrick.  American Management Association, 2004.  ISBN: 0814408109
  • eXtreme Project Management: Using Leadership, Principles, and Tools to Deliver Value in the Face of Volatility.  Douglas DeCarlo.  Jossey-Bass, 2004.  ISBN: 0787974099
  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Fourth Edition (PMBOK Guide).  Project Management Institute, 2008.  ISBN-10: 1933890517 ISBN-13: 978-1933890517
  • List of best Project Management books 
  • Income Without a Job: Living Well Without a Paycheck.  Michael Jay Anthony, Barbara J. Taylor., 2008  ISBN-13: 978-0-557-00377-8.  Website:  Tap into your own creativity and use  your full potential.  Learn how to see opportunities that others miss.   

world wide web - articles  Articles

Related newsletter articles:
    June 2001 - Successful Project Management
    November 2006 - Project Management - Early Warning Signs
    December 2000 - Sponsoring Successful Projects
    June 2004 - Successful Stakeholdering
    August 2008 - Secrets of New Project Success
    March 2010 - Seven Sins of Supervision
    April 2001 - Consulting Skills for Managers
    April 2002 - Silicon Valley Management Style

smiley graphic  The Lighter Side  

  Software / Multi-Media Products

About our resource links:  We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs in these links.   We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.

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