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Goals

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Discuss goals frequently in 1x1s and team meetings

We spend valuable time creating objectives, defining metrics to achieve them, and setting specific goals to manage metrics toward. Yet once they're set, many of us don't look at goals very often again.

In a study by HBS, most managers say they look at goals twice per year – once when they set their objectives and again when they write their performance self-review.

For many teams, goal-setting is an annual ritual that begins with a one-on-one meeting between an employee and his or her boss to agree on objectives for the year. Employees dutifully enter their goals into a spreadsheet or performance management tool, and largely forget about them until year-end. Come December, they revisit their objectives and are often surprised by the tenuous relationship between their stated goals and what they actually did in the meantime.


Feedback, 1x1s, company and team meetings all provide useful opportunities to discuss goals on an ongoing basis. The vast majority of peers we spoke to (and 70% of managers surveyed) said they wanted monthly updates on how they were doing against their goals. Unfortunately, less than half actually received monthly feedback.

Metric updates in Rally are designed to help your team communicate and share new information regularly. When a metric is coming up for an update, Rally sends a reminder ahead of time to team owners so that they can prepare context or comments. Other team members can subscribe to digests related to changes in a metric's goals, status, or actuals. Individuals can even use Rally's ready-made one-on-one or team templates to keep a metric or initiative as an ongoing discussion item for regular, recurring meetings.

Here are several common best practices in setting and managing goals:

Have a consistent point of view on how goals are set and what it means when goals are hit at your company. For instance, Google is well-known for its philosophy of creating stretch goals that are meant _not_ to be hit ("if the goals are hit, they're too easy"). Other teams opt for setting goals that are "challenging but attainable." However you think about goal attainment on your teams, make sure this is communicated in advance of setting actual goals up for team members
Avoid tying heavy compensation incentives to hitting goals

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