Category Archives: SMART Goals

How Do You Gauge Success in a Project?

Success can mean different things to everyone.  For example, if you completed the tasks you set out for your day, then that most likely means a success to you.  So what makes a project successful?  Is a project successful by answering yes to any of the below questions?

  • Does the project meet the established time and budget criteria?
  • What beneficial impact does this project have on the customer?
  • Has the project meet its return on investment?
  • Has the project altered the infrastructure of the organization to increase future business success and customer impact?
  • Is it simply enough just to the complete the project?

Main Four Items that are Success Measures with the Ability to Complete the Project:

  1. According to the desired specifications outlined in the project plan
  2. Within the specified budget
  3. Within the promised time frame
  4. Maintain keeping the customer and stakeholders happy

Importance to Measuring Success

  • If you cannot measure the SMART goal, you cannot control it, but which if you can’t control it, you cannot manage it.
  • Ability to assess the current performance to monitor and control the project to make sure the project object is met on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of stakeholders
  • Adjust any project initiatives during the project to take action sooner, rather than later
  • Set goals to achieve an objective
  • Ability to anticipate any potential deviation that needs to be corrected
  • Is the quality of the product the project is delivery up to expectations
  • Improved quality of communication by keeping everyone informed, on track, and involved in the project

Tools to Help You Measure Project Success:

  • Give a survey to the stakeholders in a project to see what feedback you receive
  • Have a lessons learned session
  • Complete a SWOT analysis on each element of the project (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)
  • Project Budget Comparison between the beginning and the end of the project
  • Project Schedule:  Was the project completed on time?
  • Project Scope Outcome how the stakeholders expected?
  • End-user opinions of the project

What other tools do you use to measure a successful project?

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Strategic vs. Tactical Project Manager

As project managers, we often find ourselves buried in several tactical activities in our day-to-day job, so we spend less time on strategic planning.  So, how can you overcome this?  Can you do both activities?  To begin, let’s define the difference between tactical and strategic.


  • Short-term goals & objectives
  • Micro-oriented
  • Focus on SMART goals and How to get things done
  • Day-to-Day Activities that will move the company forward to achieve the strategic plan
  • Planning Focus Mainly: 1-18 Months
  • Example:
    • Are the projects on time, on budget and going well?
    • Do the project team members know what they should be doing?


  • Long-term goals & objects
  • Big picture thinking
  • Macro-oriented
  • Part of your company’s Mission
  • Focus on the Who, What, and Why
  • Planning Focus Mainly: 3-5 Year
  • Example:
    • Where the company wants to go and what it needs to achieve the goal
    • Improve ROI, increase shareholder value, gain market share
    • Are we working on the right projects to meet our business needs?
    • Are we investing in the right areas to meet our strategic goals?

In thinking of all of the tactical activities in which you engage in as a project manager, such as documenting details, answering questions, describing functionality, responding to feedback, etc., ask yourself:

  1. How much time is your time taken up by tactical activities?
  2. It is because you are the only person in the company who knows how to answer these questions?
  3. Everyone else is busy and you are the only one that has free time?
  4. Only you can do these important tasks?
  5. How much time do you spend thinking on a strategic context?

Project managers whom think only on tactical tasks are focused on increasing the performance of projects, but what is good performance without a strategic purpose?  It is important to think strategically to see how your projects align with the big picture/purpose, goals, and value of the organization, as it can change the requirements and the way your implement the project. In order to become a successful project manager, you have to be “stractical,” which means you think strategically, while you execute projects tactically.

Most project managers engage in these tactical activities because they have done those tasks in the past. Can you think of some tactical tasks in which you could delegate to others, so you can spend more time thinking strategically?  Can you be proficient at both tactical and strategic proficiently? What tips can you share on how to find the best balance between being tactical and strategic? Please comment below, as I would love to hear your thoughts! 

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SMART Goals for Project Management

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed, know as SMART Goals, are utilized by project managers as a way to measure project phases and the outcomes of the project, as many projects fail due to a lack of focus on the right things.

As a project manager, each project goes through a general leadership process of:

  1. Defining goals for each task
  2. Delegate each task to a task owner
  3. Control work on the task
  4. Coach the task owner
  5. Evaluate the results

Of course, project managers are unable to complete each task necessary on a project ourselves, so we have many team members help us to complete all of the work necessary to complete the project.  Therefore, it is important that each task listed in our work breakdown structure (WBS) has a SMART goals assigned to each, so it is communicated in a clear fashion to project team members so the goals of the project are meet; thus why SMART goals are so important to projects.  Below are some helpful times to devise your goals in the most effective, smart way!

Consider Your Intentions First: Understand your intentions for wanting to accomplish each goal in the first place.

  • What do you want to achieve as an end product and why?
  • What will this project do for the organization and yourself?
  • If you don’t accomplish your goal or do so poorly, how will it the results affect you? Career, life plans, self esteem, and job satisfaction-wise?

Make Specific Goals: It is important to make clear goals as you don’t’ want to invite confusion or possible excuse making. For example: Your end goal is to lose 15 lbs in 2 months, so your goal is to a gym and workout X times a week.

  • Would someone else be able to execute this goal if they read it?
  • Does my goal answer the 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why?

Make Measurable Goals: Humans are far more likely to accomplish their goals if they know what to measure their goal and delivers results.  In our gym example, this could be measured by stepping onto the scale.

  • How will I know when this goal has been accomplished?
  • How frequently will your goal be evaluated?

Make Attainable Goals: Keep in mind how likely you can accomplish them in the timeframe you have allocated. In our gym example, if you eat right and go to the gym frequently, can your body honestly lose 15lbs in 2 months if you have a slow metabolism?

  • Can this goal be accomplished in the timeframe allocated?  If not, consider breaking down the goal into smaller pieces, if it is not.
  • Does your goal have an objective where you are both willing and able to achieve?

Make Relevant Goals: If you do not make relevant goals, they tend to be put on the backburner list, as you have too many other things to focus on and complete. In our gym example, maybe you want to reduce your having a heart attack and have the chance to be around for your children and lose weight to fit in an outfit for an upcoming event.

  • Does this goal align with the bigger picture for your organization?

Make Timed Goals: The majority of goals fail to be fulfilled because a timeframe is not specified. In our gym example, our goal is to lose 15lbs in 2 Months so we meet our goal in time for our high school reunion.

  • When do I want this goal to be accomplished?  This year or month or week?
  • Is your goal tangible, where you can experience one of your senses: taste touch, smell, sight or hearing?

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