We are getting a lot more focused here on our objectives. At the company, department, and individual level. Key to this is putting thought into everyone’s objectives and then tracking them. We are using a program named 7 Geese (love it, and not being paid to say this) to do all this.
The following is the email I sent to everyone in the company about how to craft their objectives.
This came up in a couple of conversations after today’s meeting. First there are two things, your Primary Job Responsibilities (PJRs) and your Objectives. Both go in to 7 Geese.
Your PJRs are your job, day in and day out. They tend to be ongoing such as Tomas does the builds every 2 weeks and Beth schedules the management meetings.
Your objectives are what the company needs to accomplish. They tend to be goals. For example one of Beth’s objectives is improving the wiki.
Your PJRs tend to be defined by your manager. With input/feedback from you at times but this is what the company hired you to do.
Your objectives are a negotiation. If I suggested to Beth that one of her objectives last quarter was to fully update the wiki, she would then reply back that this is an immense amount of work that will take a lot longer. The two of us then discuss what is a reasonable amount to complete on the objective.
In addition, look at the total of all objectives. If you have 7 and can only accomplish 2 – 3, then you should have 3. Again, discuss what stays this quarter and what waits.
We don’t succeed by giving everyone objectives that, if they were all accomplished, we would then be doing incredible. We succeed by making the hard choices where each person has the most critical objectives that can be accomplished. The process determining what objectives, if done well, is key to our growth.
And then you work out the tasks for each objective. This is more a collaboration with your manager (as opposed to a negotiation). It’s not critical to get every possible task, just to get the important ones that if accomplished, then the objective is going to be accomplished.
Finally an equally critical part – update this every Friday afternoon. And if you’re slipping substantially, talk with your manager sooner. You should make about 80% or better of your objectives each quarter (100% and you’re low-balling).
The result of this? I expect we’ll find we are accomplishing a lot more of our goals as a company. And that’s key to growing the company itself.
Author: David Thielen
Dave, Windward's founder and CEO, is passionate about building superb software teams from scratch and dramatically improving the productivity of existing software teams. He's really proud that he once created a game so compelling (Enemy Nations) that a now-professional World of Warcraft player lost his job for playing it incessantly on company time. You can read more from Dave on his personal blog, and at Huffington Post.
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