Picture this – you’ve just thought of a ground-breaking idea that you can’t wait to get up and running with your project team. Or, you’ve been handed a project idea by your superior and it’s up to you to come up with the whole project outline.
However, your thoughts about the project idea are still in the “big picture” stage and you haven’t figured out all the details and timelines yet. Worst of all, you have no idea where to start!
Fret not! In this post, we’ll share some easy tips for you to learn how to set manageable yet high-achieving project objectives. With these tips in mind, making the project a great success will be a breeze!
1. Using SMART Goals
You’ve definitely heard of this term, but how many times have you actually used the SMART Goal framework to set your project objectives? Although it may sound like a hassle to consider all 5 points in the framework, SMART Goals can help you have a much clearer picture of what you need for your project and set a clear schedule for the timeline as well.
Each of your project objectives should contain all 5 elements of a SMART Goal.
- Specific: Instead of a vague and lofty goal, try to drill down into details as much as possible. One easy way would be to answer the 5Ws in your project objective – Who is involved in the project; What the project is about; When it needs to be completed; Why the project is important; Where the project will be discussed and completed.
- Measurable: Consider how you can measure your project objective’s success. You could look into using Key Point Indicators (KPIs) such as sales dollars, percentage increases, financial ratios and so on.
- Achievable: You may want to consider the market norms or refer to similar past projects to find a benchmark to base your new project on. This helps to ensure that your project objective is attainable and definitely within your reach.
- Relevant: Through this project, you would need to decide on whether it is a realistic project to have. For example, you could think about whether the workload from this new project would be too much for you and your team. You could also consider whether you can complete the project within the given constraints, and if not, come up with ways to overcome these limitations.
- Time-bound: Apart from the final deadline for your project to be completed, you would need to come up with a timeline and schedule for work to be completed in a progressive and stable manner. For example, you could break the project up into stages and set deadlines for each stage. You could also schedule buffer time to prepare for any unexpected delays in the completion of each stage.
With these SMART Goals in mind, it would be much easier for you and your team to feel motivated as there would be a clear purpose and understanding of why the project is important. Additionally, setting achievable and reasonable goals would help to keep team morale up and help you and your team find the work manageable.
2. Considering your constraints
We all want the best for a project, but sometimes it can be difficult to work within the given budget, manpower constraints, and client deadlines. After all, it is usually difficult to align the perspectives of the top management or clients with the views of the project managers and project teams.
Although it would be best to work within the given constraints as they have already been decided on and handed down to you, one way to work around them if they are simply too limiting would be to negotiate them.
For example, if you have insufficient manpower, you can look into getting extra help from other departments in the company or hiring part-timers if it is within the given budget. You could also try to negotiate with the client or top management for a further deadline so that you give yourself enough buffer time to deal with any unexpected delays in the completion of tasks.
3. Knowing your project deliverables
Not to be confused with your project objectives, the project deliverables are extremely important in every project. They refer to what you need to submit to your company or client throughout and at the end of the project. For example, if you were to split the project up into different stages, some deliverables you would need would be the drafts or samples to be submitted during the different stages.
You may also need to consider giving mid-point presentations to your company's top management or the client, and the deliverables in that case would be mid-point presentation slide decks.
Furthermore, at the end of the project, you may need to inform the top management or the client about the overall assessment of the project, in which you would need to include deliverables such as a report on the key metrics and KPIs of the project, as well as a final presentation slide deck.
Hence, it would be beneficial for you to list out the project deliverables right at the start of the project when setting your project objectives, such as delegating the preparation of each deliverable to specific team members and informing them of the deadline for each deliverable. This way, you would never have to worry about missing out on an important deliverable again!
4. Finding the right people
Sometimes, you may want to venture into a new or very technical field that you and your team are not too familiar with. In such situations, you could try seeking advice from subject matter experts or even look within your company to find people who have completed similar projects in the past.
By bringing in these experts with the relevant knowledge, it would be much easier for you to work towards a realistic goal and understand the extent of how detailed your final product can be. For example, if your project involves a certain product, it would be good to approach the Research & Development (R&D) team for more advice on the functionalities and limitations of the product. This would give you and your project team reliable information to work with.
Additionally, seeking advice from people who have completed similar past projects would be helpful as they could share with you about hidden obstacles that you may have to deal with during the project. They could also provide you with useful contacts and tips that you would not have been able to know of without their help.
5. Regular check-ins with your team
In every project, your team will make or break the outcome of the project. With a motivated and skilled team, the project will go smoothly; yet, the reverse is also true. Just having one toxic team member could spread negativity within the team and result in a detrimental effect on the whole project.
To avoid such a situation, you can do check-ins with each team member frequently, for example bi-weekly, to know about their thoughts and feelings towards the project. By doing regular check-ins, you may also get to know about other innovative ideas they may have that they were unable to bring up previously. Hence, you may get an even better result than what you planned for the project originally as you implement their creative ideas and solutions.
These check-ins would also help to inform you about concerns or difficulties they are facing, and allow you to help them out so that their work performance would not be affected – rather, they could even improve their personal work performance. This may even strengthen the bonds between you and your team members, leading to better teamwork and overall performance.
Project Management with Tessaract
Now that you’ve learnt to set good project objectives with these tips, you may be wondering if there are any good project management tools you can use to better work with your team.
Although there are many useful online tools that can help you to schedule tasks and assign them to specific team members, Tessaract’s all-in-one project management tool can save you time and energy by making project management easy! With its integrated functions to set reminders timely, store documents securely in cloud storage, and even allow for digital e-signing from clients, your effort can be solely focused on completing the project without the hassle of tedious administrative tasks.
Find out more by requesting a demo from us today!