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Find the Reasons Why Your Team is Not Achieving Project Goals

written by: Srikanth Radhakrishna • edited by: Ronda Bowen • updated: 8/31/2011

Successful completion of a project depends on achievement of project goals. It can be really frustrating when your project goals are not achieved. If you are a project manager and are wondering why some of your project goals were not achieved, you are in the right page.

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    Missing the target Non achievement of project goals has a huge negative impact on the business. It is very important for you as a project manager to set goals and to motivate the team to work towards achieving goals. There are many reasons for non achievement of project goals.

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    Lack of Involvement

    The project manager and team members should be committed to the goals from the beginning till the successful completion of the project. The project manager should ensure active involvement of the team members by reviewing the progress periodically. The project manager should communicate the importance of the project to the team members. This will help the team members realign their priorities.

    An agile team is a classic example of how a team should be. Members of an agile team are 100 percent involved in their team's progress. Lack of involvement brings in an unhealthy attitude. Team members will just do the "job" they are expected to do. They do not come up with new ideas. Project managers can ensure active involvement of the team members by subtly communicating how successful completion of the project would benefit the team members.

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    Lack of a Written Plan

    Teams with written goals are more likely to achieve success than those without documented goals. The goal document should contain the goal and steps involved in achieving the goal. It is advisable to document roles and responsibilities of each team member. It helps the team to stay on course and to avoid unnecessary tasks. It effectively avoids "Activity without productivity" situations. A written plan will ensure that each and every team member is clear about what is expected from him/her. It also ensures that the team members are involved in tasks that are required to move the team towards the cherished goal.

    The project team saves time by adhering to the documented plan. Lack of plan will put the team in a disarray. The team members will involve themselves in various actions just to show that they are working. Without a plan, most of these actions are bound to be unproductive. The team loses focuses and a sense of direction without a proper plan. During the execution of the project, the plan will act as a reference point for team members which will help them find out where they stand.

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    Lack of Technical Skills

    Project team members should possess technical skills required for the job. Some times people without adequate technical skills manage to become part of the team with their communication skills and interpersonal skills. A team member without adequate technical skills for the job is bound to have a negative impact on the team. The project manager should ensure that there are right people to do the right jobs. Team members should have the knowledge and the experience to execute their responsibilities.

    The project manager should have technical and managerial skills to lead the team towards successful achievement of project goals. It is advisable to conduct a technical test before forming the project team. This will ensure selection of people with requisite technical skills for the project. The organization should strive to hire and retain highly skilled and productive individuals. They are the real assets of the organization and they have to be compensated well for their skills and productivity. It is also important to provide adequate training to the team members before assigning projects to them.

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    Lack of Communication

    Communication plays a vital role in project teams. The project manager is expected to have effective communication skills. First of all the project manager should communicate the goal the team is expected to achieve. Other wise the team will not have direction. The team members should communicate the issues they may be facing during the execution of the project. Clear communication brings in understanding in the team. It keeps the team motivated and improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the team members. Lack of communication can be very dangerous for the team. It can become a source of conflict and may even lead to crisis situations. It is one of the main reasons for non achievement of project goals.

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    Lack of Right Attitude

    Having the right attitude is very important to succeed in any endeavor. The wise saying "It is all in the mind" is true. If you think you will succeed, you will succeed. If you think you will fail, you will fail. The project manager should infuse a positive attitude in the team during team meetings and during one on one interaction with the team members.

    The fear of failure is another major hindrance in achieving project goals. It brings in the "Let me play it safe" attitude among team members. This attitude has the potential to kill the team goals by curbing active involvement of team members. It is a great obstacle to productivity as it generates stress. Fear has the potential to paralyse the team members and stifle their creativity. The project manager can remove this fear by supporting the team members when they convey their intentions to try something new.

    People lose focus and waste time by either thinking about the past or about the future. It is important to live in the present and to work towards achieving the goal in the present. You can neither change the past nor predict the future. However you have absolute control over what you can do in the present.

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    Lack of Focus

    Project team members are expected to handle multiple tasks. However the project manager should ensure that the team members are not working on different goals. If this happens, the team will lose focus. The project manager should plan and regulate the activities of the team members and ensure that the focus is not lost. It is also important to ensure that the workload is distributed equally among team members.

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    The project manager should be alert for signs of any of the above mentioned "lacks" in the team. They can be eliminated by taking the right action at the right time.

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