When do you think risk exposure or the level of risk is greatest in a project – in the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the project?
Risk exposure is highest in the beginning of your projects. Why? We have the least amount of information – this is when uncertainty is greatest. We know very little about:
Here are five activities that you can undertake to reduce the risk exposure early.Continue reading
Have you ever had a customer accept your project work although they were not happy with the project?
According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, customer is “the person(s) or organization that will pay for the project’s products, service, or result. Customers can be internal or external to the performing organization.”
Internal customers have many problems. The problems may include:
So, your projects are running like an old dilapidated jalopy, eh?
I’ve been there and well…it’s no fun!
And what’s worse, we don’t always know why it’s happening.
It’s not like you plan for things to go wrong. You genuinely care about the project and your project team.
You’re probably working long hours. You feel an increasing sense of anxiety.
What are you doing wrong?
Nobody has the power to correct all the issues we face in our projects, but I can at least offer a tool that will help you build a better foundation for your projects.
In his book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack shared a Harvard study concerning MBA students who set goals. Harvard asked the graduating students, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”
It turned out that only 3 percent had written goals.
Ten years later, the researchers interviewed the students with written goals. These students were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent altogether.
If you want to make greater strides in life, write your goals and make them clear. Goals can help in every facet of life including financial, spiritual, physical, and relationships, to name a few. Let’s look at three goal mistakes that dilute the potency and potential results.
1. Fuzzy goals. Great leaders and achievers are absolutely clear about what they wish to accomplish. Underachievers lack clarity about where they want to go and how they will get there. Fuzzy goals are safe but vague and ambiguous.
Here are some fuzzy goals:
Improve our customer service.
Become a better project manager.
Increase sales by end of 4th quarter.
Increase our membership.
These goals need specificity. When writing goals, consider these 4 questions:
What action (e.g., increase, decrease, or maintain) will you take?
What is the focal point (e.g., membership growth)?
What is the target (e.g., 10,000 new members)?
What is the deadline?
Using these questions, let’s refine the goals mentioned previously. The revised goals below are clear, engaging, and motivating.
Increase customer service rating from 85% to 92% by 6/30/x5.
Pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam by 9/30/x5.
Increase private passenger auto insurance sales by 5% by 12/31/X6.
Add 10,000 new members between 1/1/x5 and 12/31/x5.
2. Competing goals. Another problem is conflicts between goals. A family may have a goal to save money for their next vehicle and a goal to send two children to an expensive college.
An executive may require two different projects be completed at the same time with the same resources and a limited budget.
How can we address competing goals? Analyze and recognize the conflicts. Prioritize the deliverables and associated tasks. Break the goals into manageable tasks. See if the lower priority items may be delivered at a later date.
3. Stretch goals. Stretch goals challenge people to reach beyond their normal capacity. If done properly, stretch goals can be helpful. However, when management sets unreasonable expectations, people feel manipulated, used, and abused.
Team members burn the candle at both ends. Some individuals may take unethical actions. Others take excessive risk.
How can we set goals in a manner that challenges team members but makes the goal achievable? First, engage the team members in the goal process. Ask for their input. Second, find ways to enhance the team’s efficiency with appropriate tools and resources. Third, recognize and reward results. Say thank you.
Questions: What other mistakes do people make with goals? Please provide your insights in the comments section below.