Let’s do another quick recap. On our last blog post we talked about the Sprint Feed. It’s the first thing you see when you create a new Sprint, and it’s goal is to help you and your team communicate. If you’re working solo, it’s also useful as a way to jot down quick notes to yourself. Despite the prevelance of workplace chat tools like Slack and Hipchat we still felt the need to create our own internal communication tool inside Business Toybox in order to provide some specific constraints to help your team focus.

Today we’re going to talk about another useful tool that lives inside your Sprints. We call these Sprint Goals, but we usually just call them Goals for short.

Why You Need Goals

When you first create a Sprint we ask you to think about the what if that you’re trying to resolve, the big unanswered question or unsettled assumption that could have an impact on your current business model. Once you name your “what if” (and thus give your Sprint a name) you’ve already defined the primary goal for this Sprint. You and your team need to go out, collect evidence, do some research, and ultimately decide afterwards whether or not this assumption or question has been turned into a fact (or something close to it) that either supports or does not support your business model.

But how?

And it was this simple question that made us realize that we needed to basically give you more goals to go after. More accurately, we needed to let you define them yourself and then motivate you to go after them. Our simple suggestions on how to do things “right” can only go so far, it’s ultimately up to you to decide the locations to go to and the people and organizations to interact with. Once you have a decent idea of what these are, we can help you better define how to interact with them in order do research for your Sprint in the form of our Sprint Goals.

So, let’s get started on how to create a Goal.

Naming Your Goal

Creating a Goal is fairly simple once you’ve created a Sprint. You see that row of buttons at the top right? Well, the one that looks like a flag is the one you’re going to want to click on. You can even hover over it and it will tell you that this is where you go for goals.

If this is your first time creating a Goal for this Sprint then you’ll get a handy little explainer as to what’s going on. Otherwise though, just click the button that looks like a star to get started.

Like Sprints, the act of creating a new goal is an experience designed to get you to think. The first step is to give your goal a name, but beyond that what we really want you to do is to think about what you want to do.

What’s Your Why?

The next step is to actually define why it’s important. Goals are supposed to be important for you and your team so that you can all focus, and specifically focus on getting important things done.

If you can’t think of a good “why” to write down here, then this should be taken as a signal that maybe this goal is less important than you think. Maybe this goal is important simply because everyone else is doing it, or because you and your team have always done things that way. If that’s the case, we strongly advise you to stop right about here. This goal probably isn’t worth pursuing.

How Are You Going To Do It?

So now that you’ve defined a goal and why it’s important, it’s time to define how you’re going to do it. Unlike the previous two sections where you just wrote your answer down, we’re actually asking you to come up with a list. Not only that, but you can cross items off the list too. So what we’re really asking is for you to do create a to-do list. This is a way to motivate you to define small, actionable steps and tasks, rather than something that’s too general and vague.

Working With Goals

Goals are still an early feature of Business Toybox. We have a lot of ideas that we’d like to hear your feedback on, and we’d love to hear your suggestions. With that out of the way, let’s just say that this next part is kinda underwhelming.

Anyway, so once you’ve created the Goal it lives in the Goals section of your Sprint. It’s a little out of the way from the main experience, so we’d like some feedback from you on how to bring them closer to the forefront.

There are two buttons attached to every goal. The second one, well, it doesn’t actually do anything yet, but we left it there because it honestly makes Goals look more interesting. You could say that our intention is for you to use it to mark certain Goals as extra important in the future.

The first one though definitely does do something. Namely, it let’s you take a closer look at the Goal.

Here you can review over why the goal is important as well as how you’re going do it, and from here even cross “how’s” off the list and re-order them. We figured that some of you might want to re-shuffle them around in case one how is more important than the other, or in case it makes sense to complete them in a linear fashion.

What’s Next

Right now we’ve stopped at just the basics. You can define what your goals are, and that’s about it. We have a lot of ideas on how to improve the experience, but we don’t want to chase them at the expense of ignoring everything else in Business Toybox. So, we’re going to be talking to some of you pretty soon to get some feedback so we can better decide what to pursue next.

If you really can’t wait to share some of your ideas on how to make the experience better, then feel free to hit us up on Facebook and Twitter. You can also email me personally at john@businesstoybox.co.

As for our next blog post, we’re looking forward to announcing a feature that’s actually been hidden inside Business Toybox for quite a while now, but has only recently gotten the polish necessary to make us feel comfortable sharing it with you. We’re going be talking about a tool we’ve made to make it easier for you to talk to people.