How Project Managers can Align Team Members with Team Goals
The project manager is the brain of every project management team—strategizing, planning, analyzing from a high level, and monitoring key metrics to ensure the project succeeds. But no matter how efficient and capable you are as a project manager, you can deliver the desired results only if your team is aligned with the project’s goals.
Team goals are essentially shared goals that the entire team is responsible for achieving to meet the outcomes and targets you’ve planned out. Tracking team goals is the foundation of performance in project management since it’s only what gets measured that can be managed.
In this article, we look at what it takes to engage team members, align them around team goals, and give them that sense of cohesiveness and unity that’s critical to your project’s success.
1. Set specific goals clearly defined in measurable terms
Before you start organizing your team to work on any shared goals, the first step of the equation is to define your goals and create a clear picture of what you’re trying to achieve.
A specific goal outline gives you clarity into the what, the why, and the how and makes it possible to draft a roadmap of how you’re going to approach carrying out your targeted outcomes.
An ideal example of specific goal setting would be to use statements that define what exactly you’re trying to get done. For instance, instead of:
Grow our organic traffic.
A better goal statement would be to:
Grow our organic traffic by 20% over the next 3 months (from 10k to 12k visitors per month).
A definite goal statement makes it easy to measure your success and to know with clarity whether you’re advancing towards achieving your goals or drawing backward.
2. Create a plan to guide your goals
With your goal statement defined, next, you need a master plan designed to guide you and your team once you commence working on your goals. The aim is to create a detailed outline of what you want to achieve and how it’s going to get done so that once you and your team get into the action phase, you can focus on carrying out tasks to the best of your ability vs. planning on the fly.
3. Ensure your goals are achievable and realistic
While it’s always good to aim for the stars, it’s also important to admit your team’s capacity, your strengths, and your weaknesses and plan with those factors in view. As the project manager and the head of your team, it’s your responsibility to analyze all goals your team will be working on to determine whether they’re in the reach of reality or just wishful thinking.
This is necessary so your team doesn’t get burned out working on targets they’re not trained or equipped for or that are impossible to achieve in the timeframe you’ve chosen.
4. Plan with time in view
You don’t have until forever to get your goals done and as a result, it’s important that all goals set put the time factor into consideration, including:
- how much time it’s going to take,
- how your timeframe for that particular goal affects other goals,
- the resources you have at hand since they’ll play a direct role in how long you spend on that particular task.
5. Involve your team at every stage of the process
It’s one thing to plan personal goals, and it’s another to work with a team towards a target. To ensure you get the best results possible, you must align your team around your shared goals to create a sense of shared responsibility and cohesiveness. As much as possible, ensure that you:
- bring clarity into your planning, i.e. clearly define the what, the why, and the how of whatever outcomes you and your team are working on; make sure everyone on your team can see the big picture since that’s the only way they can commit to doing their best to achieve it
- assign individual tasks to each member of the team, taking care to assign tasks that align with your team members’ strengths,
- have regular update sessions/standups where you review how well a project is performing, pointing out what’s working, what’s not, and what should be fixed to get better results.
Applying these five best practices makes it easy to track your performance on team goals, align your team members around the targets you’ve chosen, and consistently hit your team goals.
Why is it important to align individuals with team goals?
Every team is made up of individual members. As a result, it might be a bit difficult trying to get all these individuals to function as one to achieve your desired outcomes.
And that is why you must align your team members with shared goals. These shared goals are essentially what takes individual members of a team and gives everyone a shared vision of success to pursue.
Some other key reasons why shared goals are important for aligning team members include:
1. Creates a definite measure of success
Well-defined team goals offer an ideal framework for measuring how much your team is getting done and the results you’re getting from your efforts as a team. With well-defined team goals, it’s easy to take a look and instantly be able to say whether you’re achieving your desired outcomes or not.
2. Helps in pinpointing problem areas that need to be worked on
Another key advantage of team goals is that with an understanding of what the entire team is working on, it’s easier to track any problems that exist in your team structure, your strategy, or any shortcomings any team members may have.
When team goals are not achieved, the entire team can look into the details to see what exactly caused the drawback so the issues can be addressed for future projects.
3. Helps maintain a cohesive team structure
A shared vision makes it easier for members of a team to see themselves in the big picture of your team and to function effectively as one.
How tracking team goals offers a better understanding of project progress
Tracking team goals fulfill a key objective in the project management process. Far beyond just aligning your team around your objectives and key results, shared goals makes it easier to track how far and how well your projects are progressing since now, you know:
- which action items are getting done,
- how quickly they’re being carried out and whether they’re being fulfilled on schedule,
- what it’ll take to meet your project targets even faster.
- Create, assign, and track action items with ease,
- Manage projects with 100 percent visibility, and
- Align your entire team around your team goals.
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