Focus On The Goal

It is easy to overlook the purpose of a project when administering its details. It is similar to the saying that, when fighting alligators, it is easy to forget that the main purpose is to drain the swamp. Team leaders and team members become so wrapped up in details that they lose sight of the entire purpose of their project. People get so engrossed in the details, due to their immediacy or finiteness, that they lose sight of the big picture and forget to ask if what they are doing is contributing toward accomplishing the final goal.

Keeping focus on the goal offers several advantages. First, it enables people to be proactive rather than reactive. People can choose what to respond to, rather than jumping at each situation like one of Pavlov's dogs. Second, it helps in distinguishing between what is and is not significant. Obviously, not everything is equally important, although some team members might think so. Naturally, these people become overburdened with work. Third, focusing on the goal provides an objective standard of evaluation. The significance of a particular effort is determined by the degree to which it helps to achieve a final goal.

Unfortunately, teams rely too heavily on numbers to determine significance, which can lead to dysfunctional behavior. While numbers tell only part of the story, in some projects they become more important than accomplishing a mission. Hence, the team performs considerable work, and the metrics reflect that increase in effort. However, the fundamental question may remain unanswered: Is what is happening furthering the achievement of the final goal?

It is important, therefore, to perform three actions. The first is to constantly query about progress, asking if what people are doing is furthering goal achievement. The second is to establish a consistent, standard "yardstick" for measuring progress, keeping in mind, of course, that the importance of the yardstick is to measure the right factors in order to determine the value of the current work. The bottom line is to remove any blinders leading to myopic decision-making and performance. While such decisions and performance might appear significant, in reality they do nothing, and perhaps even impede actual accomplishment.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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