Documenting Strategic Goals

Most projects I’ve worked on have had a set of strategic goals that the project was supposed to realise. However, most people working on those projects could not say what the goals were or where they could be looked up.

Even on projects where the goals were stated and available, they were not always clearly articulated or well-structured. This post is not about analysing the business in order to identify the goals; it’s about putting structure on them once they have been identified.

I propose using the syntax of a Business Story to describe strategic goals. This syntax makes clear:

  1. the business value of achieving that goal
  2. the goal owner
  3. the goal itself
  4. the timeframe

If it’s not obvious to you, see Crisp’s Blog to see why I put the business value first.

Most strategic goals I have seen only articulate the goal itself, which is important. But to whom do we go if we need to discuss that goal? The owner (knowing the owner also tells us at what level within the organisation the goal is relevant). What tells us how long we have to achieve the goal? The timeframe. What tells us why the goal is important to the business? The business value.

There is more to it, however. We also need to know:

This gives you a very simple tabular format that can be expressed in a slide, document, spreadsheet, wiki, Sharepoint page, or even just on index cards:

So that State the business value in achieving this goal.
As a State the title (not the name) of the owner of the goal, e.g., “Chief Operations Officer”.
I need State the goal itself.
By State the timeframe within which the goal needs to be met.
Priority: State the relative business priority of this goal.
Impact of Miss: Detail the expected impact on the business should the time-frame be missed.
Date Last Reviewed:
Inputs: List the inputs.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

2 comments to Documenting Strategic Goals

  • Michelle Sobin

    Hi!!! I stumbled over your blog – love it! Hope all is well.

    • Declan Chellar

      Hi, Michelle. Great to hear from you and thanks for the compliment. Feel free to comment on any of the posts, especially if you want to challenge what I have to say. Without challenges, my thinking can’t evolve.

      All the best.


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