Goals and Objectives

Goals and Objectives

The Hierarchy of Objectives

“Goals” and “Objectives” are often used interchangeably. However, we can use them in a more specific way to communicate effectively.

A goal is a written statement of desired outcomes or future state. It is typically broken down into objectives that are then broken down further to a reasonable level and organized hierarchically. The hierarchy is not limited to two levels. From this point of view, a goal is an upper-level objective (parent) relative to the lower-level ones (children) broken down from it.



  • Broad
  • Long-term
  • Upper-level
  • Measured by KPIs or KGIs
    (Key Goal Indicators)
  • Specific
  • Short-term
  • Lower-level
  • Measured by KPIs
    (Key Performance Indicators)


Success is the result of achieving the goal that is measured by key performance indicators (KPIs) or key goal indicators (KGIs). The term KGI comes from COBIT. It distinguishes KGI as a lagging indicator from KPI as a leading indicator. However, it’s not uncommon to use KPI only.

Performance is the progress to the objective or goal through execution.

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