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Catch Phrase: Keep Your Eyes On The Prize/Ball!

January 26, 2010

A tried and true phrase in many regards.  In project management, you have short-term and long-term prizes to keep your eye on.  Short-term you want to keep your eye on the next milestone.  If you are in the initiation phase, then you are working toward finishing that phase, getting approval and moving to the next phase.

You should always have your eye on the critical path(s).  They are your project health indicator.  If things go wrong on the critical path, you need to make correction immediately.

The long-term prize of project management is successfully completing the project and meeting your customer(s)’ needs.  Notice that I included meeting the customer(s)’ needs.  It is possible to complete a project, on time and within budget, but not meet your customer(s)’ needs.  Not meeting your customer(s)’ needs is not a successful outcome.  You must keep them informed of the project progress and confirm with them at each major milestone that project is on track and meeting their needs.

As project manager you are constantly managing expectations.  In order to manage expectations you must be engaged in 2-way communication with all of your stakeholders.  Confirm your understanding of what is required at each point.  Line up your success criteria with the requirements and demonstrate how the project is meeting the requirements.  Adjust as need – using change management of course!

I have put links below to the origins of this catch phrase whether you want to keep your eye on the prize or on the ball.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_Your_Eyes_on_the_Prize

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_origin_of_the_idiom_keep_your_eye_on_the_ball

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