I’m reading An Elegant Puzzle and this quote stuck out to me:
The two tests of an effective goal are whether someone who doesn’t know much about an area can get a feel for a goal’s degree of difficulty, and whether afterward they can evaluate if it was successfully achieved.Will Larson, An Elegant Puzzle
Here’s the example of a bad goal:
We will reach an average of 300ms to render our frontpage.
See why that’s bad? An outsider has no idea how big of a deal that is. Now here’s the same goal, but written to be audience friendly:
“In Q3, we will reduce time to render our frontpage from 600ms to 300ms. In Q2, render time increased from 500ms to 600ms.
Much better. An outsider can understand how big of a deal that goal is that without any other context.
The book says good goals have 4 numbers:
- A target: what you want to reach.
- A baseline: where you are today.
- A trend: the current velocity.
- A time frame: the bounds for the change.
And you can see them all in the example:
- The target: 300ms
- The baseline: 600ms
- The trend: Increased by 100ms in the last quarter
- The time frame: Q3
Pretty neat, right? Audience friendly goals. Write your goals so that outsiders can understand the difficulty and judge completion.