Set And Track Your Goals

Go a step further and empower your team to improve.

José Caldeira avatar
Written by José Caldeira
Updated over a week ago

Besides customizable homepage dashboards, where Align displays metrics that matter most to the team, it also allows you to set goals, track them and, most importantly, drive change.

Athenian Analytics will give you an overview of how each team in your organization is performing. It helps your teams to identify improvement opportunities. Once you have an overview of your key metrics, it should become clear what areas of your process need optimizing.

Let's work with an example –

This is a team that’s spending the majority of its time on review processes and an obvious goal to set is to reduce their overall review time.

Set Your Goal on Align

Get started by navigating to the relevant Team dashboard:

  • After switching from Analytics to Align, click on the Teams tab.

    This will give you an overview of all the teams currently stored in your Athenian system.

  • Now click on the team you want to focus on.

Once you’ve narrowed down on a specific team, it’s time to set goals. Remember, in this example we’re working with a team that needs to improve its review time:

  • Go to the Goals tab and click “Add Goal” – orange button to the top right of your view.

  • Next define a time frame: use the drop-down menu at the top of the view to set the timeframe for the goal.

    For example, you may wish to see improvement:

    • In the next quarter to promote a clear quarterly improvement objective.

    • Or in the next year. Yearly aspirational goals can define a clear direction for the organization as a whole.

  • Now, choose from one of our goal templates: you’ll find a goal for whichever metric you want to improve.

    • For each goal, you can set your own target.

    • You can also set additional filters for each goal, including Repositories, Issue Types, Projects and Priorities.

  • Voilà! You can now see how your team is currently performing.

    • Spend time to explore! You might learn that in the last 30 days, your team’s reviewed 56% of their pull requests within 12 hours. With this in mind, you can assess if you are setting the right target for your chosen timeframe.

  • Finally, set a target!

    • For instance, maybe you want your team to review 65% of their pull requests within 12 hours.

    • 🚨 You should discuss any targets you set with your team, to ensure you have their buy-in. Change won't happen without the people that make up the team being fully involved!

  • Once you’re happy with your goal, click Save Goalorange button to the top right of the view.

Once you set the goals, you can now see them on the Goals tab. And in this example, this team’s Active Goals dashboard will show you:

  • How many Pull Requests the team has been reviewing within the specific objective (i.e. what percentage of PRs they reviewed within 12 hours).

  • The average amount of time it takes to review Pull Requests.

These two metrics, together, will give you a more complete overview of just how your team is meeting its goal.

Two Different Kinds of Goals – Pure Average and Percentage Over Objective

With Align, you can set two different types of goals:

  1. Progressive Goals which allow you to set progressive improvements vs. status quo

  2. Absolute Goals which are based on pure averages

You can easily differentiate them by looking at the icons next to each goal title (the percentage symbol vs. the bar chart, respectively).

Progressive Goals let you set both the target of the goal, and an expected percentual attainment. This way your team understands, and also constantly sees, what the end goal is but also knows that they don’t need to start right away optimising for something that is today hard to reach (you’re giving them a bit of leeway..which often goes a long way to motivating a team!). This is all makes sense if you’re familiar with service level objectives (SLOs).

On the other hand, Absolute Goals let you define average targets. In practice, as the team improves quarter over quarter, you will need to continuously redefine the target and move the goalpost further and further getting it closer and closer to your target.

Our take — Whenever possible, pick Progressive Goals. These help communicate straightforwardly the end target and make reaching it incremental. Not only do you not need to keep updating them quarterly, but it can help keeping everyone motivated to focus on incremental changes and not unattainable goals.

In our example, we used a Progressive Goal by defining that we want the team to review (only, and for now) 65% of their pull requests within 12 hours. In parallel, to complement this, you could set an Absolute Goal that tracks the average amount of time Pull Requests spend waiting for review.

Cascading Goals and Team Goals

Align lets you set goals for individual teams, or Cascading Goals for your whole organization.

To set a cascading goal, you can follow the same process outlined above with an exception:

  • Instead of choosing an individual team from the Teams tab, choose one of your groups or departments. Any goals you set at that level, will then apply to every team within the cascading group.

🚨 Communicate, communicate, communicate

As a leader in the organization, or as a Director responsible for multiple teams, you should sync with your leaders on a quarterly basis, as they do with their teams, to determine your organization’s higher-level objectives.

You want to ensure you create a balance of how much should be team driven and how much should be management driven.
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