Goal Tracking

Goal Tracking

  Published on February 9, 2009 ·   5 min read
  Author: Donald L. Schulz

Since about the beginning of the year I have been thinking about goal tracking. I compiled a long list of technologies that I wanted to learn, experiment with and maybe even build some projects using some of these newly learned skills. Nothing quite like turning something new into something useful. I find that this technique provides me with the best understanding of how and why a technology would be used in one scenario over another. My goals for this year is a long list and some have a dependency of a previous goal being completed before I even begin, like reading the book before I begin my project based on the technology.

However, I suffer from the getting bored and just needing a break from a certain goal and then forget to get back to it at the appropriate time illness. It’s like I need something to help me track what my goals are and an easy to see a KPI like indicator to show me which goals I need to pay attention to right now or I might miss my target date altogether. Before I go much farther I should define KPI:

KPI’s are Key Performance Indicators which help organizations achieve organizational goals through the definition and measurement of progress. The key indicators are agreed upon by an organization and are indicators which can be measured that will reflect success factors. The KPIs selected must reflect the organization’s goals, they must be key to its success, and they must be measurable. Key performance indicators usually are long-term considerations for an organization. This is what I need for my goals, some way to track my progress. I went to work on it, storing the goals was easy. Give it a name, what your target date is for completing the goal and some exit criteria. Okay, so I had to think a little bit about that last one, but I needed something that would tell me when the goal was completed. So, I started with an easy one, reading a book. I know when I have completed that goal when my current page is equal to the total number of pages in the book. Sorry, I just jumped into some logic thinking that a computer program could use to determine if it was completed. So in the case of tracking the progress for my book reading goals I could keep track of what page I was on each day and how long I spent reading. The last one is going to help in figuring out how fast I am reading this book and checking this against how much time I have set aside to work on my goals.

Okay, then from that information I could recalculate my goal target date by calculating the rate at which I am going what I should actually reach my goal. If the new target date is earlier then I had planned then the KPI should show me a green light. If it is later then this, it should show me a yellow (warning) light if I am just slipping but I still have time in my allocated time frame to meet this goal. Of course the KPI would be a red light if there was no way that I could meet this goal. This one is harder to determine as it is an indicator which would come up when I certainly have gone past the target date, how I can determine if I have run out of time before this date is hard to calculate especially if I have alot of goals. There are things that I cannot really know like sacrificing one goal so that I can put all my effort toward the other goal. If you are behind I will show the warning light, if we missed the goal I will show the red light…but at least I have something that I can track for my goals.

There were a couple of other types of goals that I thought of tracking. My projects that I build are not based on any page number but I thought I would set a goal in the amount of time I would spend on the goal by a certain target date and track it that way. This also should work quite well and can easily see when I am on and off track but the red can again only be shown if I have already missed the mark. Then just to throw something different into the goal tracking mix, I thought about setting up some goals for my weight. This one is really different in that there is no time element here at all. In stead we are tracking the weight on a regular basis and let the goal tracker estimate and the rate that I am loosing or gaining weight when I should be able to reach my ideal weight. I think that the KPI’s are going to start showing me problem indicators when I am moving in the opposite direction that I was planning. If this is going to work or not I am not sure, for instance for the past week I have had no change in any direction and the goal tracker is still saying I will reach my ideal weight within the date I have targeted….time will tell.

KPI of a few goals
Anyway, as you can probably tell by now I have actually started to put together a goal tracking program. It is still rough and most certainly is a beta product.

Good luck with your goals, I am finding that I am a lot more focused on my goals and staying on track then when I wasn’t tracking my goals, so I think it is working.