Setting goals

14 Jul 2011 - 12:54pm
5 years ago
1 reply
897 reads

It is that dreaded time again where I have to create measurable goals. It is part of the McGraw-Hill culture.

I am new to UI design. I have been in my position for 2 years. Just wondering what are some measurable goals I could focus on this year. I am stumped.

Thanks everyone


20 Jul 2011 - 7:10pm
Samantha LeVan

Don't dread measurable goals. That's what helps you focus your future and move up in your career. Here's an idea:

1. Think about that all too familiar "five year plan," but be serious about it. Think in terms of job role, not where you want to work. Since you're new to UI design, do you want to try to reach a senior level role in five years? If you aren't familiar with the specific roles at your company or elsewhere, consider the activities you want to do during the work day. Write down, just like when you were a kid, "what you want to be when you grow up." 

2. What are the skills you need to achieve this? Make a list of 5-10 critical skills, prioritize them, and identify any that can be worked on concurrently.

3. What would it take to enhance your knowledge and become "solid" in that list of skills? Should you get more education, attend conferences, training classes, read books, blog, write an article, shadow other employees (great for learning project management)? Be creative and look for low cost or free ways to learn and grow professionally.

4. Review the company vision/goals and your department's goals. If the culture is about measurable goals, I'm sure your manager has a department list that you can reference. What can you do to help the team? Efficiency is a great measurable goal. Can you find ways to reduce time spent in meetings or disruptions so you can work 5-10% more efficient during the day or use different techniques to finish a project in fewer hours? Cost-saving is a biggie and will make you look good in corporate-land.

5. Make a very reasonable list of 5 personal/professional and 5 team/company goals to achieve in a year. The personal goals should be steps along the path to the five year plan. You'll be on your way to the next level and have a draft of goals for a few years in a row. No more stress.

6. Work with your manager to refine goals. Hopefully you have a supportive boss who can help you turn vague goals into measurable ones when you're stumped. Measurable doesn't always mean "reduce budget by x%." It can also mean goals that you can prove took place and had some sort of impact on you, the team, or the company, but your manager will know more of what you need to include.

Some goals I've seen from corporate UXers include:

-Developing and leading UX 101 workshop for at least 10 developers

-Spending 40 hours on professional development activities with at least 50% focused on research techniques (designer hoping to bring research techniques to the team)

-Learn project management techniques by shadowing an experienced project manager part-time for a month (long term goal to explore the PM career path)

-Increase the number of usability test participants/rounds of testing/prototypes tested a certain amount compared with the previous year.

Etc etc. Make it fun, and make sure your goals get you where you want to be and it won't be so terrible.

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