How to Set the Right Goals for Your Next Project

As a project leader, if I had the ability to do only one thing, it would be setting a goal.

Goal setting is the process by which you define a clear result for your project. It’s a way to guide your team and track how they progress.

You know that a goal has to be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

But the three most critical elements of any goal are:

  1. Setting up a deadline,
  2. Communicating clarity, and
  3. Encouraging commitment.

Time constraint is a powerful motivator. Having limited time helps your team prioritise the most important things. And it forces them to be more resourceful. Running out of time because of a deadline makes it easy to get the right things done.

A clear goal gives a direction to your team. Clarity helps them focus on what is relevant for the project. This is important in a normal situation. But it becomes vital when your team has to deal with a crisis. Because clarity helps them to figure out what trade-offs they can make.

To be committed to the project, your team must believe in the goal you set. It is your job to make sure that they know and believe in the reason—the “why”—you are doing this project. Purpose drives motivation.

Next time you set a goal for a project, think: Deadline + Clarity + Reason.