Team goal setting is one of the most vital parts of planning a project.

We all know that planning might be the most important part of a project. Without it, you and your team might end up working in complete blindness. So let’s look at the essence of planning: team goal setting.

While one might think that the work itself is what needs the most attention when starting a project. But the truth is that it’s actually not the most important part of the project at all. If you want to be successful you need to allocate a huge amount of time to planning the project, including team goal setting.

The chance of something going wrong increases if you don’t use enough time on planning the project. In a worst case scenario, you might need to start from scratch.

Okay, so let’s have a look at some rules for team goal setting.

SMART Goals

SMART Goals are everything when you think of goal setting. You’ve probably heard of it before, but it’s not always that easy to follow the guidance it gives. To refresh your memory, let’s go through them and look at a couple of examples.

Specific

Why specific? There’s plenty of reasons why. First off, it’s hard for those who haven’t defined the goals to follow them if they aren’t specific. It’s all about giving the right direction for you and your team.

Second, you usually use more than just one day to finish a goal. If you work on reaching for multiple goals at the same time, it can be hard to go back to work on a goal that’s unclear and hard to understand. This can become a huge pain for you even when you’re the one in charge of the team goal setting.

Measurable

It should be possible for you to know if and when you’ve reached your goal. If it’s impossible to measure the performance of your team, it’s not really anything to reach for.

A goal as simple as “Explore software features” isn’t a good measurable goal. While it might fulfill a couple of other SMART goal criterias, it’s definitely not measurable. How will you know when you’ve achieved it?

A really good effect of a measurable goal is that it can give you the feeling of achievement. It’s easy to know when the goal is reached.

Attainable

This might be the most important point for setting a SMART goal. Goals are supposed to work as a motivational factor for working harder. It’s something you need to reach for. While it’s important to set goals to help your team go the extra mile, it still has to be achievable. If it’s almost impossible to reach the goal because it expects so much of you and your team, people will give up early.

So to sum up, a goal needs to be both challenging and achievable at the same time.

Relevant

This is too essential to look too much into. Why wouldn’t a goal be relevant? If you’re a marketer it wouldn’t make much sense to set a goal that are related to the production results. You need to find goals that are connected to what you do and where you want to go.

Time bound

Setting goals without a time limit just doesn’t make sense. You need to have a specific time you want to reach your goal at. That way you have a specific time you can reach for. If you follow all the other points under SMART goals, it also gives you info on what you need to get done before the deadline.

So that was all the aspects of SMART goals! Now let’s take a look at a couple of goals that can be classified as “SMART”:

  • Growing a business: “I will acquire three new clients for my consulting business within the next three months”
  • Starting up a business: “I want to set up an online store selling books by the end of the year”
  • Increasing school grades: “I want to raise my grade from 3.0 GPA to 3.5 GPA by the end of the year”

Motivating goals

Under SMART goals, we mentioned briefly the importance of motivation and how SMART goals can have a positive effect on you and your team’s motivation. Sadly it’s not always that simple. Some might need additional incentives other than the feeling you get from reaching an achievement.

That’s why it might be wise to combine the actual goals with some other kind of incentive. This could be additional holiday weeks, bonus salaries or, in some cases, the promise of a lucrative promotion.

Another great incentive that can make goals more motivating to your employees is stock options. This means that the company as a whole will work towards the same main goal, which is increased profit.

Use a task or project management tool

When working on team goal setting, writing them down somewhere is so critical. That’s why it’s a good idea to adopt a task or project management tool. With these tools you can create task lists that can help you reach your goals, making it easier to measure your performance.

If you want to take it a step up from just task management, project management tools are a good options for large projects. So if a goal is to to create a SaaS tool with your team within a specific time table, project management tools might be the better choice.

There’s plenty of good tools out there that can help you manage tasks or larger projects. Monday.com is a good one for project management, while Correlate can help you manage tasks and connect related files and documents to them.

Set intermediate objectives

When you work towards bigger goals, it might be hard to know exactly what direction is the best. There might be many options for you, but there’s usually just one what gives you the best result at the fastest pace. To make sure that you follow the correct path, it’s wise to set some intermediate goals for you and your teams.

These milestones should of course also follow the guidelines of SMART goals and may need some additional motivational incentives connected to them. This could just be as simple as a social gathering, like a nice team building event on the company bill. Or maybe a couple of beers for the entire team?