8 strategies for achieving IT goals

IT executives and project managers share their tips on how to create realistic goals and the steps you need to take to attain them (with minimal delays or disruptions).

By Jennifer Lonoff Schiff
Oct. 27, 2016

Identifying a goal is easy. Achieving it is another thing—especially if you are in IT and have to deal with other departments and vendors. Indeed, figuring out what is a realistic goal and then determining how it will be met is one of the biggest challenges IT executives and project managers face. And while project management software can help, it is up to the project leader to lay out the goal, or goals, and create a road map. Here are eight tips to help IT managers do that.

1. Work your way backward

“It is critical to the success of attaining our goals that we know exactly what we want to accomplish,” says Susan Gilell-Stuy, executive coach at Leadership Compound. “Designing goals with the end in mind means delineating and clarifying what the ultimate goal being sought is, and establishing the path that gives you the best chance of seeing it come to fruition. Agreeing in the short term on where we are ultimately headed — even when we don’t all agree on the nitty-gritty of the how this will be done — creates [a] shared enthusiasm and investment in striving for the same result.”

2. Define requirements up front

“Clearly define your requirements prior to starting a project,” says Sanjay Govil, founder and chairman, Infinite Computer Solutions. “In the beginning, it is imperative that they are fully stated and agreed to between all of the stakeholders. Changing these requirements in the middle of a project is one of the leading causes that contribute to delays and cost overruns.”

3. Consult with all stakeholders

“When setting goals … talk to your counterparts in marketing, product, etc. to understand factors that may impact you and your ability to set or meet a goal,” says Magda Walczak, chief customer officer, Search Party. “You don't work in a silo. Getting input and buy-in from other areas will ensure that your goals are realistic and may even garner support for actually achieving them.”

“The entire team must be involved in the goal-setting exercise to create commitment and ownership of a project,” says Roman Fry, principal, North Highland Consulting. “Leaders may suggest goals, but the team must agree, believe and achieve by committing to each other that they will do their part for team success.”

4. Create specific, measurable goals

“If you create a goal with a measurable metric, you have an almost certain chance of knowing when [or if] you've achieved it and when you haven't,” says William Hall, vice president, Learning and Development, Simulation Studios. “For example, instead of 'reduce employee turnover,’ [make your goal] ‘reduce employee turnover by at least 5 percent in the next 6 months.’”

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