Project Management

Goal Setting

last edited by: Surupa Chakravarty on Apr 8, 2024 9:47 PM login/register to edit this page

1 Applications
2 Procedures
3 Instructions
4 References

A technique used to formulate specific targets for achieving an objective at a point in time. A goal is thus an operational transformation of one or more objectives. Goals can be set for enterprise-wide objectives, project objectives, activity-level, and/or quality-related objectives (see Objectives Setting).

To be meaningful, all objectives must be measurable to a specific target goal. Ideally, these goals should be quantifiable, e.g., "Increase return on investment by 6.5%". In this example, 6.5% is the goal for the increase return on investment objectives. For quality-related initiatives, targets need to be measured continuously, and following Juran, plans to implement and achieve quality can only be developed after specific goals or targets have been set. These types of quality goals can be strategic (directly related to mission, vision, objectives and strategies) or tactical (related to specific product or service quality factors).


  • To formulate specific targets to enable achievement of objectives.
  • To facilitate the definition of quality measures to enable continuous process improvement.
  • To specify specific activity achievements, as a result of reengineering or redesign.
  • To increase employee engagement within the workplace.


  1. Confirm type of objective for which a goal is needed.
  2. Determine specific targets for each objective, project, or activity.
  3. Identify potential measurements, and initiate measurement program.
  4. Maintain consistency with objectives over time.


Setting goals for enterprise-wide objectives will require input from stakeholders, and should be set at the same time the objectives are determined. Try to set numerical targets, whenever possible, quantifying qualitative objectives with care. Project objectives should also have goals set related to specific deliverables and/or outcomes.

Quality program related objectives and goals should be expanded to address:

  • product performance (related to features)
  • competitive performance
  • quality improvement (and/or cost of poor quality or cost of nonconformance)
  • activity performance
These goals (and objectives) can be driven, based on marketplace factors (e.g., product development cycles, customer satisfaction, etc.), technology factors, and/or historical performance factors (if available). Once there is agreement on the specific targets (through facilitated workshops, perhaps), identify the appropriate measures needed to track these goals, and establish requirements for a measurement program (see Workshops and Quality Measurement). Update activity profiles with the new target goals, and communicate to key stakeholders (see Activity Profiling).

After reengineering solutions have been proposed, determine target goals which radically stretch the enterprise to achieve breakthrough. For example, radical goals for the customer engagement set of activities may include an increase in satisfaction from 50% to 100% and an increase of percentage repeat buying by 80%. These goals can be identified by applying the individual solution components (see Solutions Development) during the confirmation stage, by conducting benchmarks of world-class performance (see Benchmarking), or by brainstorming, using "out-of-box" thinking. Include actions required to monitor progress against these goals in all transition plans, and maintain consistency with other objectives. Also identify specific enablers to achieve these goals, using Force Field Analysis or positive Ishikawa Diagramming.


  1. J. M. Juran. Juran on Quality by Design: The New Steps for Planning Quality into Goods and Services. 1992.
  2. Thomas H. Davenport. Process Innovation: Reengineering Work Through Information Technology. HBR Press, 1992.
  3. James P. Lewis. Project Planning, Scheduling, and Control: A Hands-On Guide to Bringing Projects In On Time and On Budget. Probus Publishing, 1991.

last edited by: Surupa Chakravarty on Apr 8, 2024 9:47 PM login/register to edit this page

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