When we're going to talk about managing and achieving goals, we can approach it from a lot of different angles.
Several people from the tester's community already had a stab at it. Just follow this link, and read some interesting and inspiring articles on this topic. Here you will read about my spin on it.
Objectives, Goals, and challenges
For me, goals are something completely different than objectives and challenges. If you put them on a scale of formality, I would rank objectives as the most formal, challanges the least formal, and goals somewhere inbetween.
Objectives are the things you set and evaluate on a regular basis, discuss with your manager, and used as input for your appraisals. I see challenges mainly as a fun exercise which you do on your own or with others, with the aim to achieve something, e.g. a reward, certificate etc. Of course objectives and challenges can be a personal thing, I see those where you do have an interaction with others.
I tend to treat goals as a thing for myself, something I want to achieve, where I only have to hold myself accountable. Truly a commitment to yourself.
Setting and managing goals
Technically you could treat anything you have- or want to do as a goal, but for the sake of this article lets not take it to that extreme. I set goals for myself for various reasons:
- when I want to learn something new
- when I want- or need to have something done before a certain date
- when I want to extend my comfort zone
- when I want to achieve something
I am an organised person, or at least that is what I want to believe. I have:
- a zero-inbox policy
- clean (physical & computer) desktop policy
- numerous digital lists, agenda items, reminders etc., following the Getting Things Done methodology by David Allen
Pretty obvious that the goals I set myself end up in one of these tools. And since I use these so frequently, almost implicitly my goals get a regular review.
(Not) achieving goals
More often than not, I do not achieve my goals.
- not in the way I orginally set them out
- not in the timeframe I put on it
- not at all
And you know what, I'm not sad about it. As said earlier, I only need to hold myself accountable for it. Even when a goal is not achieved, you will have gained a lot by working on it.
- learned something
- strenghtened a skill
- relaxed your mind and body
- got fitter
Something meta to conclude
I had set myself a goal a while back to blog more often. Put it on one of my lists, and blocked time in my calendar for it. Yet, I haven't written for a while. But see, here I am now, putting the last words of this post to paper. Well done Peet, goal achieved!