A goal is an objective that defines the moving parts of program and company intentions. Clear, measurable goals can prove that an organization’s strategy is being implemented and affecting real results. Your goals should support your overall strategy and be clearly articulated in defined business terms. Goals have more loosely defined time frames than initiatives; common goal time frames are 6 months, 12 months, Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 and Calendar Year (CY) 2022. These goals should act as flags in the ground, letting us know what to look for as we climb.
Goals ensure that efforts being made from initiative to initiative are keeping the company or program on track. If the company or program is not on track, goals allow managers to quickly identify when course correction is needed so that teams can meet deadlines with high-quality work.
Goals can be added at the program and company levels, and program-level goals should be aligned with the company-level goals they support, as well as with associated program and company-level Initiatives.
Goals should be constructed similarly to rules, in that the goal should be system agnostic, but still detailed enough that technical users can read the goal and determine a function to calculate the thresholds for success and failure of that goal.
Define Meaningful Metrics for Goals
Most businesses today rely on high-quality information to support initiatives that improve performance and productivity. Data and information offer insights about products, services, and customers. That knowledge helps businesses innovate and grow. Metrics determine what success or failure will look like for your company and its programs. To define meaningful metrics for your goals, catalog where that metric is used (for example, in which reports) and what the thresholds are that determine success.
Fewer, meaningful metrics are more effective at informing business decisions than a large quantity of metrics that don’t apply to goals that are currently in flight. Progress should be measured before impact, as progress must be made before the impact of that progress can be measured. Metrics help company and program leaders make informed decisions about how their efforts are paying off and give insights as to when may be a good time to pivot and change directions with a strategy.
Goals require concrete expectations and metrics to monitor a company’s success. Clearly articulate goals in defined business terms. To track the progress of a goal, define clear metrics focused on the kind of growth your company is aiming for, like growth in revenue, cost and process optimization or regulatory compliance. Organizations focused on customer intimacy may have goals focused on improvements of process capability indexes and sigma levels of data quality. Companies focused on operational efficiency may have goals related to internal SLA compliance and process capability indices.
Goals help program managers set and communicate clear boundaries and expectations for a program’s objectives. Goals provide program managers with a documentation structure that encourages inclusion of the important information that corporate leaders need to consider the realistic and metrics-bound objectives of the program, while also formalizing the relationship that data stewards have to data-related assets in an efficient and thoughtful manner.
Goals and initiatives work together to ingrain the organization’s strategy into daily decisions and tasks. For example, if part of your Mission is to engender customer intimacy, then you may have goals that focus on increasing sigma levels of customer data quality. A “Data Quality Reporting project” initiative defines what will improve customer intimacy. The goal of increasing sigma levels of data quality defines why the corresponding Initiative engenders customer intimacy.
Company Leaders Need to Know:
- What concrete improvement will the company see as a result of achieving this goal?
- How does the program goal help the company achieve its aligned company goals?
- How long will the goal take to implement?
- Who is accountable for the associated data-related assets?
Data Stewards Need to Know:
- What concrete results are expected with the implementation of the goal?
- How do the program-level goals support their aligned company goals?
- What priority should the work have? How important is it to the health of the program and the company?
- Which data-related assets are associated with the goal?
- What other teams, data stewards, and SMEs must collaborate to accomplish the goal?
By providing corporate leadership and data stewards with the information they need to understand a program’s measurable expectations, goals help build a cohesive culture dedicated to supporting and implementing that program.