Setting goals as a project manager – what should you be aiming for?

project manager goals

Whilst it is true that as a project manager, the completion of your project should always be your top priority, it is really important to consider your development as a project manager as well. Whether you have professional project management qualifications or not, you should think about setting your professional goals to help towards your career progression.

What are professional goals?

If you want to progress in your career, then you need the drive to achieve this, and professional development is vital in helping you to achieve this. A professional goal is defined as the statement that sets out what goals you want to achieve in your career as a whole or simply in your current position.

This might be something like improving your communication skills when working with others in a team. Of course, you would put this on your goals list in a way that sets it out more clearly; “I want to improve communication with my project team through the establishment of advanced reporting practices and through regular feedback sessions.” If you are more specific with goals that you set for yourself, then you are more likely to achieve them sooner and show your bosses that you are a valuable asset to the organization.

If you do not yet have a professional qualification as a project manager but believe that this might help you in your career progression, then attending APM, PMP, and PRINCE2 training courses to gain those qualifications will indicate just how serious you are about your career progression. In fact, training, even when you are qualified, can help you keep abreast of current industry changes, and continued development in this way certainly counts as one of those great goals to set yourself.

When setting any goals for yourself, it is best to follow the SMART goal-setting method. This means that every goal needs to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound.

Why should you set goals?

When you want to progress up the career ladder, simply gaining experience in the relevant role may not always be enough. There will always be other candidates looking at the same roles, and you need to be able to give something to potential employers that show them you are the right candidate for the role.

When you set yourself goals as part of your professional development and then achieve them, you are showing that you have the drive and the focus to get the job done. You’re also demonstrating that you understand that you need to work hard in order to get where you want to be. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll prove that you have the drive to push yourself to do better.

Aim for goals that are aligned with the direction that you want to take your career in. Ensure that they are achievable goals and that you give yourself a reasonable timeframe in which to achieve them, and perhaps most importantly, do not try to cram too many goals into a short space of time. This should be a continual thing.

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