The consequences of unrealistic project goals

Monday, June 9th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

For project managers, especially those new to the profession, the desire to please stakeholders and executives can lead to overly ambitious goals and scheduling. Unrealistic project goals can also be the result of rapid change at your organization, such as a large increase in business. New direction from leadership or disorganization on the part of the PM can lead to details being missed and projects hitting roadblocks.

Whatever the cause of the unrealistic goals, the results are often the same. Team members are under added stress, phones are ringing non-stop and everyone is moving briskly from office to office, wearing worried expressions. When tensions run high, it is even less likely that project work will be done well and on time.

If this state of affairs sounds familiar, you are not alone. A Gallup Business Journal study found that only 2.5 percent of companies complete 100 percent of their projects in a given year. However, unrealistic project planning can be addressed—and prevented in the future—by implementing better PM practices.

According to PM expert and blogger Elizabeth Harrin "transparency, organization, communication, and a methodical approach" are all needed to avoid unrealistic goals and keep projects from becoming derailed. Splitting your team into smaller groups and implementing new communication channels could help to get more tasks completed on time, but if you lack the staff, an in-depth review of your organization's processes might increase transparency and efficiency.

If you are unsure of the next steps to take, you can advance your PM abilities with New Leaf's free white paper "Embracing the Dragon's Tail." In addition, our QPM™ series of estimating games shows you how to avoid the common technical mistakes most plans contain and lets you learn while you earn affordable and convenient PDUs for PMP® recertification.

"PMI," PMP," and "PMBOK" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

"QPM" is a registered mark of New Leaf Project Management. All rights reserved.

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