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How to write effective goals to drive your business.
In the previous article we saw a simple way to share a vision. A key part of that plan was to have a set of metrics that would help us measure progress and focus on specific themes.
In this post we'll go a bit further and see a simple technique to write effective goals.
You're halfway through stage 2 of goal setting:
What we will do:
To complete the transition to stage 2 you'll need to
Poorly written goals can be extremely harmful. They can push a team to waste efforts on the wrong problem, misjudge the value of a project, or even drive your revenues down. And the worst is that it's incredibly easy to write statement that look like an objective, but are missing a critical piece to be complete.
"Make our customers happy"
Of course, we all want to have fanatic customers. But how are you going to measure it? How will your team know that they're doing a good job?
"Sell 100 licenses"
The more you sell, the better. But selling 100 licenses in 1 month has a different impact than selling 100 licenses in a year.
The SMART acronym was introduced for the first time in 1981 by George T. Doran as a simple way to write effective objectives. The definition has evolved since but it's a great tool that will help you in your goal-setting journey. SMART stands for:
I encourage you to read the post linked above to get more in depth on that topic. In the following section we'll see how we can write SMART goals for the quarter, by making sure we include all key aspects.
If you followed the previous tutorial you should have a page in Tability to track your yearly company goals.
Using that as a starting point we will derive some SMART goals for the Product team. Looking at the plan, there are 3 goals that seems relevant for that group:
Let's start by creating a new page in Tability under the yearly plan. Here, I highly suggest picking a weekly frequency of updates. We're going to track things that are lasting 3 months at most, so if we can't rely on a single update per month to stay focused and agile.
Next, you can create a section for each of the top-level goals taken from the company plan. There are many ways you can structure your page but this is a simple way to align the yearly plan with your quarterly initiatives.
We need a set of goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
To maximize focus we'll limit the number of goals for the Product team. The more you have, the more you'll be pulling people in different directions. Here's the proposed set of goals for the quarter.
You can now add the goals to the Product team page in Tability. You can use the advanced form to set the initial value for each of the goal.
After updating the initial value you should be able to check the projection on the progress chart in the right panel.
Once all the goals are added, the page should look like the following.
Your Tability workspace should now have a structure where you have a top-level page for your yearly plan, and a sub-page for the Q3 goals of the Product team. You can follow that structure to create other sub-pages for your other teams and repeat that process each quarter.
Each week Tability will send reminders to goal owners and prompt them to share progress.
It's important to make goal owners comfortable with reporting bad news. The purpose of having a tight feedback loop is to increase transparency and make your business more agile.
Go to your workspace in Tability and create a new page.
If people are too afraid to ask for help you'll end up learning about issues when it's too late to correct the course.
Make sure that everyone can have easy access to the pages so they can keep track of things. As updates on outcomes get shared, it will become easier and easier for teams to adjust their work and backlog in light of how the success metrics are doing.
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