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

5. Divide large goals into small, more manageable goals

“Trying to achieve an enormous goal all at once can be overwhelming,” says Jonathan D. Roger, project portfolio manager, AndPlus. “Instead, split large goals into smaller goals that you can accomplish in less time. Achieving a smaller goal takes less time [and] you get the satisfaction and motivation of achieving a goal [and] seeing your greater vision realized. Smaller goals are also less risky, and you can more realistically consider how much time a smaller goal will take to achieve and what challenges you may face.”

6. Use project management software

“If you are managing a large team it can be tough to keep on track of everything,” says Jennie Holmes, digital strategist, Generate Solutions. To better manage tasks, “use a [project management] platform that meets your business needs. JIRA and Wrike are two great project management platforms that work well within IT. Within Wrike you can assign a deadline, and you have a great comment feature,” she explains. “This is how you can engage your team around the shared goals. They can [provide] feedback [regarding whether] specific tasks are unrealistic/unachievable [and] can also see how their contribution impacts the wider project and timelines.”

With project management software you can “assign tasks to team members and keep users organized and on track to meet weekly goals,” says Eileen O'Loughlin, market researcher, Software Advice. “These tools allow managers to assign due dates, set up alerts for impending deadlines and flag at risk and overdue items before they put the project in jeopardy. PM tools also act to centralize team efforts and create a shared workspace [where] users can collaborate and communicate easily.”

7. Track your progress

“Track your goals constantly, and make sure your team has visibility into them,” says Tim Burke, director of IT, BetterCloud. “The shorter the feedback cycle, the better chance your team has of achieving their goal. Having a daily KPI email, a Slack update or live dashboards the entire team can view helps maintain focus you wouldn't have if the goals are tracked on a less frequent basis.”

8. Celebrate successes

“Celebrate your team’s success in achieving major goals,” says Nic Grange, CTO, Retriever Communications. “Winning becomes a habit,” he explains. And by celebrating wins, team members will come to associate achieving a goal as something positive and desirable. “It also helps the team form a stronger bond.”

How to play it smart

“IT managers should follow the SMART rule when setting goals with employees,” says Janet Brown, CIO, Garden City Group:

  • Specific – Ensure goals are employee-specific and can be understood with metrics.
  • Measureable – Provide specific details on what the baseline metrics are at the beginning of the year and know how much you’re trying to improve.
  • Attainable – Avoid long, lofty goals and instead set goals for quarterly and annual deliverables that can be achieved.
  • Realistic – Create goals that are within the scope of your influence and your team’s capacity.
  • Time bound – Set specific dates to review progress and make adjustments.

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