Achieve Efficiency with Agile Goal-Setting


Traditional planning in organizations typically follow a similar pattern. Goals are defined through strategic thinking with a fixed performance review. Yet, this isn’t always effective. Traditional planning allows companies to review their plans at a six-month interval. Unfortunately, such performance reviews may already be outdated thanks to the long lead time. The alternative: agile goal-setting which is more dynamic, intuitive and flexible.

If the review period is shorter, it allows for weekly or monthly iterations and can stimulate the team’s enthusiasm, leading to more success with stakeholders and customers. Agile goals also create many opportunities for ongoing process learning and improving.

Every company’s approach reflects its best thinking at that moment. Thus, constant review makes sense when the company’s success is at stake. It’s important to review and refine processes as you go to adapt to efficient resource allocation in a changing environment.

This is where the framework for Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) agile goal-setting comes in handy, especially with an emphasis on what organizations need to define and achieve as well as measuring key performance indicators.

What defines agile goal-setting is shorter goal cycles for a fluid and iterative process.

What does “agile” goal-setting mean?

Most companies see traditional goal-setting as a tick-box exercise that needs to be done occasionally, usually during an annual performance review.

For example, it may be a company goal to monitor employee attendance but management team members rarely employ the tool needed for monitoring breaks.

With TimeTrack Attendance Tracking, managers can define break regulations and monitor the length of employees breaks.


TimeTrack Attendance Tracking

Agile goal-setting provides motivation and direction for organizations and helps foster a collaborative culture while tracking overall progress.

Some of the benefits of this technique include:

  • Monitoring, reviewing and adapting to the company vision in a top-down manner
  • Holding everyone accountable for their decisions
  • Ensuring the team feels empowered to achieve the organization’s objectives

Effective and forward-thinking organizations adopt continuous performance reviews throughout the year. This agile performance management revolves around development processes that practically remove barriers to efficient performance while adjusting goals to suit the changing needs of the company, management, employees and the industry.

Elements of agile goal-setting

This approach to setting goals isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every businesses and individuals. Use these elements to mix and match to your company’s specific needs.



An agile approach demands openness and the ability to adapt to changing needs and environments. The process may appear different to different employees and different businesses (based on their individual style and business processes).

Shared goals

A long-lasting trend in workplaces is collaboration. A basic tenet of agile methodologies is the unification of people who work in an organization. The focal point of unity is the overarching agile goals of the agile teams.

Agile goals based on context

Agile goals are not static and are not reviewed annually. The goals need no specific criteria but depend on the context and measurable factors and, where possible, need the inspiration of agile teams and innovation towards implementing company goals.

Intrinsic rewards

The focus of agile goal-setting is intrinsic rewards, not just incentives. The motivations for achieved company successes and the drive to accomplish high productivity are the foundations of agile goal setting.

Agile goals are realistic

There is nothing wrong with staying ahead. Yet, the be-better-than-all syndrome and striving for unattainable perfectionism cripples creativity, productivity and agility. Don’t be fooled by the perfectionism trap.

Be realistic and adaptable, set priorities and reframe your perfectionism into productivity.

What are the benefits of agile goal-setting?

The many benefits of adopting agile goal-setting are highlighted below.


Benefits of agile goals


  • The core of agile goal-setting lies in sharing information from top to bottom and from bottom to top. This requires that you share details with the agile teams so they have a heads-up on the direction in which the company is heading. This approach ensures that everyone is working on their assigned roles.


  • Agile goal-setting saves money and time and prevents miscommunication. It promotes the efficiency and effectiveness of normal processes. This approach makes it possible for team members to focus on the 20% of tasks that yield 80% of results. This is possible because agile teams have mastered efficient prioritization, scheduling, and tracking, especially using the TimeTrack time management software.

Efficient time management

  • When goals remain agile and fluid, it’s easy to manage time, priorities and urgent deadlines better. Managers also need to consider remote or hybrid working situations when planning goals. Organizations where employees work in different locations may have difficulty making effective appointment plans. TimeTrack Appointment Planner helps managers schedule time and assign employees to their duty posts with explicit instructions.

TimeTrack Appointment Planner


  • The system holds the leader responsible for ensuring stability and keeping agile team members focused, secure, supported and engaged. According to Gallup, engaged team members generate 18% more sales because they have a greater agility and commitment to quality and customer relations, leading to impressive organic growth. Further research by Gallup also revealed that engaged teams show 43% lower turnover and 23% greater profitability according to Salesforce.

Getting started with agile goal-setting

The most important thing to note is that there are no criteria for the agile method of setting goals. The criteria simply depend on your business needs and context and must solve business challenges. The steps highlighted below will help you get started with developing agile goal-setting for your organization.

CLEAR goals

Make your goals CLEAR. The idea behind the “clear” is to make them as flexible or agile as possible. CLEAR goals mean they must be collaborative, limited, emotional, appreciable and can be refined.

Introducing the CLEAR acronym is a way to ensure goals follow a team-based and flexible approach. The acronym only provides a structure for those just starting out with the agile method.

Continuous development of goals

The goals should be part of ongoing performance management so that development remains a consistent conversation. Goals should be part of short- and midterm reviews so that they can regularly change to reflect changing context.

Tie goals to organizational vision

Goals must be part of the overarching goals of why your company was created. Ensure that teams and individual goals are tied to the vision and greater business objectives. This must be done in such a way that stakeholders feel emotionally invested in their daily task performance so that everyone is moving in the same direction.

Focus on intrinsic rewards

Everyone loves a healthy boost to their paychecks or company perks. Yet, intrinsic rewards appear more motivating than an ordinary boost in paychecks. Do away with micromanaging and empower your employees to guide their own development so that they can set their goals with a greater sense of value, competence and achievement.

Checklist for agile goals

Goals must be understandable and specific.

  1. Simple and concise to reduce cumbersomeness
  2. Measurable and manageable to aid simple determination of success
  3. Reproducible and memorable for easy communication
  4. Attainable and realistic for a better opportunity to change
  5. Assignable and actionable, so it’s easy to turn into actions
  6. Agreed upon and committed to making people feel responsible
  7. Real, tangible, and time-bound for people to know when to complete projects
  8. Exciting and inspiring for people to see the bigger picture

Does agile goal-setting improve time management?

The agile approach of setting goals promotes efficient time management. It is the right framework for effective goal-setting and performance management. The first things is to create a fertile agile environment for your team to thrive.

Promotes development of clear vision

Agile goal-setting promotes the development of a clear company vision and action plans that are based on specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound criteria.

Focus on deadlines

Agile team members understand how to set deadlines, especially with the right project management tool, such as TimeTrack. They separate urgent tasks from important ones. This involves the identification of unproductive activities and eliminating them.

Enhances prioritization

Prioritization also relates to managing attention, recognizing wandering thoughts, refocusing and eliminating distractions and a time thief at work. This may involve blocking time for non-essential or non-urgent tasks and decluttering where possible. The process enhances efficient task evaluation through baseline, mid-task, and end-task reviews.

Efficient time assessment

This helps in estimating the time to complete any tasks. Where possible, create buffer time to track unaccounted situations in the time estimate. The agile team is skilled at calculating the total fudge ratio and also offering feedback, reducing estimation errors.

Effective collaboration

Effective collaboration is the hallmark of an agile team. Working from a daily calendar with time slots makes efficient work schedules for everyone, easy collaborations and project tracking possible. Thus, teams are able to achieve project objectives.

Examples of agile goal-setting within a team includes idea generation, efficiency improvement, and boosting morale. Considering the aforementioned, the emphasis is on the outcome rather than on the process.

Agile teams come together to work efficiently to set goals and measurable milestones to ensure that deadlines are met and projects run smoothly.


The first part to ensuring that your goals work for your team is to create an agile environment and ensure agile performance management. Agile goals save time and promotes efficiency and productivity. To get the best of your team, ensure that goals are based on context, intrinsic rewards, shared goals and adaptability.

Put your agile goal-setting skills to the test now and try TimeTrack for free for more guidance and resources.