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3 Types of Project Management Goals to Improve Success

3 Types of Project Management Goals to Improve Success

UPDATEDJun 05, 2024

When it comes to setting goals in project management, many people think of goals related to keeping a project on time and on budget. While there is a lot that goes into keeping a project within those constraints—there is so much more to project management than just time and money.

In this article, we will discuss using project outcome goals to help make individual projects more successful, which will also increase the value of your work, and which project management performance goals will increase the value of your team.

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3 Types of Goals in Project Management

There are three types of goals in project management.

The first is project outcome goals. These are the statements of tasks that need to be completed for the project to be considered “complete.” The second is high-level project management performance goals that apply to the overall performance of the team and project manager. These goals measure efficacy, productivity, and success. The third is project-level project management performance goals that apply your high-level goals to a single project.

Project Outcome Goals

Project outcome goals in project management are what must be accomplished for the project to be considered complete.

For example, a digital marketing company may have been hired to audit the digital ad accounts of a client to provide feedback for improved performance. In this case, the project manager’s project outcome goals should be related not only to completing the project within the given timeframe, but also to completing the project well.

To create these goals, the project manager will look at the steps that need to be taken to complete the project (revise ad copy, refine keyword list, advise new keywords, provide monthly reporting), and add goal details about how they will know whether or not the outcomes are successful.

In this case, examples of project outcome goals might include:

  • Revise ad copy and landing page experience to increase quality score by at least 30%.
  • Refine keyword list to remove irrelevant or low performing keywords to improve click-through rate by at least 15% and conversion rate by at least 20%.
  • Provide at least 80 new high-performance keyword ideas to expand the campaign with KPIs meeting or exceeding KPIs of optimized campaign (above).
  • Provide monthly reporting for 3 months to prove improved performance in campaign maintaining or exceeding X avg. quality score, X% click-through-rate, and X% conversion rate.

In the examples above, you’ll see the project outcome goals not only specify tasks for the project but also specify the target outcome or purpose of these goals.

The purpose and outcomes for these goals are taken from the original scope agreement with the customer. Even if the agreement with the customer was simply to “audit and improve digital ads,” setting more specific targets (i.e. increasing quality score by 30%) helps create a more refined target for your team to hit, which can significantly improve performance and outcome.

When writing goals and targets for your team, remember to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-sensitive).

High-Level Project Management Performance Goals

Project management performance goals are goals that tie to the success of your project management strategy and the success of your team. These goals are important not only for proving you and your team’s value to stakeholders within the company but also for providing career growth and high performance for you and your team.

High-level project management performance goals include subjects like:

  • Increasing Productivity: Fine tuning systems to achieve the best output for the inputs.
  • Improved Predictability: Being able to more accurately determine costs, timelines, and resource requirements to fulfill current and future objectives.
  • Increased Gross Profit Margins: Maximize total profits and reduce cost of goods sold to improve gross profit margin.
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: This may mean increased customer satisfaction scores, increased customer retention, decreased service complaints, or changes in reviews or responses online.
  • Increased Employee Engagement & Satisfaction: Improving workflow to better engage and support your employees to improve productivity and reduce turnover.
  • Decreased Actual Cost: Preventing going over budget on projects and optimizing costs to improve profitability.

To turn these ideas into goals, you need to adapt them into “SMART” goals, or the acronym commonly used in the performance sector to stand for “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive.” This means instead of a generalization about the type of improvements you’d like to see in your project management strategy and team performance, you define exactly what you want to achieve.

For instance, your high-level project management performance goals may include:

  • Be on budget within 3% for every project.
  • Decrease project cost on projects by 5% by July 31.
  • Decrease overdue tasks by 10% by August 15 and to a rolling 4% or less by January 15.
  • Improve customer satisfaction scores by 15% by November 10.

Project-Level Project Management Performance Goals

In order to actuate your high-level project management performance goals, you must apply them to every project you take on. Keep a list to refer to when you’re writing your goals for a new project. Take the goals from your high-level list and apply them to the new project.

For instance, with the above high-level project management performance goals, project-level goals may include:

  • High-Level Goal: Be On-budget Within 3%
    • Review project specifications and budget to ensure budget is reliably achievable within 3%.
    • Perform weekly audits each Friday to ensure budget is on-track with projections within 3%.
    • Achieve final budget analysis within 3% of projected budget.
  • High-Level Goal: Decrease Overdue Tasks
    • Analyze current workflow and overdue tasks to determine who has the bandwidth for this project.
    • Review project timeline and team bandwidth to ensure timeline is achievable.
    • Set clear deadlines for each task.
    • Follow up every Friday to ensure the project is on-time with projections and to ensure rolling overdue tasks are 4% or less.
    • Achieve final product delivery on time for a specified date.

Why Project Management Goals Are Important

One of the main reasons project management goals are so important is to have a specific, defined target for you and your team. With a more defined target, it’s easier to direct your (and your team’s) attention and work toward reaching that target. This can help improve performance within your team.

In addition, creating measurable goals (and implementing tools for measuring performance) can significantly improve your ability to complete projects on time and on budget.

Finally, setting specific project management goals—especially high-level performance goals—helps you upgrade your skills and performance as a project manager. This makes you more valuable to the company by significantly improving performance, efficacy, and reliability, as well as furthering your career.

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