There are several ways to measure your goals, ranging from simple to complex and free to expensive. Sometimes it makes sense to spend money on tools, but when setting goals for your own purposes, keeping it low cost makes sense.
For instance, use a spreadsheet when first starting out. Most people associate Microsoft Excel with spreadsheets, and that costs money. However, there are free alternatives, such as Open Office Calc. The Open Office suite of products is available on multiple operating systems. This software is fully functional and compatible with Microsoft products. The best part is it is free.
Sometimes, you will need more sophisticated tools. For instance, when you work on multiple projects simultaneously and there may be dependencies associated with some of the goals, you’ll need to have a better method than a spreadsheet to manage these. This is also true when you have multiple people that you need to measure their contributions to the projects.
While you could use spreadsheets for this, they are not meant for collaborative activities. The reporting features are lacking in a spreadsheet program. A program such as Microsoft Project gives you more control over these types of features.
Other factors to consider when measuring goals is workflow. When someone on your team updates a document, you want the whole team to know about it simultaneously. Otherwise, you will need to constantly coordinate changes to documents or other assets within the project. This can become a full-time job by itself.
Keep in mind the tool should not be used as a means to run the projects for you. They have their uses, but the responsibility rests with you, or the project manager. Also, you have to consider some flexibility in the measurement as not every item will go according to plan. You may need to make some adjustments along the way.
Being too rigid with the plan can cause problems within a team. Strict adherence to a tool will make the projects rigid, by definition. On the other hand, you do need some ways to accurately measure the goals. It’s a delicate balance that requires compassion as well as firmness.
When choosing a tool, try to get your team involved, so they know what to expect. This isn’t always possible as some companies already have solutions implemented. If this is the case, you will need to manage the expectations of the team and provide any training and assistance needed to make the tool work for them.