In the process improvement goal setting post a few days back, I stressed the importance of making your goals specific (and thus measurable). Randy Eppinger made a good comment, and I felt to make it a bit more public, I’d copy that comment to a new post.
That’s good advice. I find it helpful to do both. We create high-level objectives of the sort you listed like, “Reduce the number of bugs being released”, “Assimilate new team members more easily”. Then we create a list of milestones related to one or more high-level objectives. One or more team members takes ownership of achieving milestones which are more specific like, “Research and purchase a good book on unit testing techniques”, “Create a Continuous Integration build for all code branches”, “Create the Visual Studio 2005 section of the coding conventions document”.
His comment reveals something that I missed. It’s definitely possible to have both types of goal statements! In fact, setting concise, specific milestones is an excellent approach. As long as there is a visible, specific, MOTIVATING goal to move toward, you’ll have more success in your process improvement. Thanks, Randy!