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Updated May 14, 2024

11 Best Tools for Setting and Tracking Goals

No matter how long you’ve been in business, it's important to make goals and track your progress.

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Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
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Whether you’ve been in business for two months or 22 years, you probably have goals for your company. These may be sales objectives, marketing initiatives or cost-cutting measures. Maybe you want to increase employee engagement or track retention. Perhaps you’re challenging team members to set quarterly resolutions. Whatever the case, goal setting and tracking tools can hold you and your staff accountable and allow you to measure your progress along the way.

What are goal setting and tracking tools?

Goal setting and tracking tools are software platforms that businesses can use to establish objectives, record progress and measure key performance indicators (KPIs). Goal setting and tracking tools offer a variety of functions, but all of these programs hinge on setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals and establishing objectives and key results (OKRs). A projected end point enables the tool to mark and measure key points of progress. 

TipBottom line
Before you start tracking your progress, make sure your team is aligned on your overarching goals.

What are the top goal setting and tracking tools?

As project management software has evolved over the past decade, so have tools for goal setting and tracking. The best apps encourage productivity, foster collaboration and offer multiple price levels.

Here are 11 of the best tools for setting and tracking goals.

1. 15Five

15Five combines software with education and a supportive community for an integrated ecosystem of performance management, development and training. It’s used mostly by leaders who are interested in human resources management and enables businesses to build high-performing teams through continuous performance management. [See the human resources terms all HR managers should know.]

Depending on your company’s finances, a potential downside is that the software does not offer a free plan. The Engage, Perform and Focus tiers provide business goal-tracking capabilities for operations managers and executives, while the Total Platform level satisfies the varied needs of whole enterprises. 15Five’s robust insights keep teams aligned with their goals, communicate OKRs clearly and guide individual employees’ progress based on their unique skill sets.

TipBottom line
Complement your goal-setting system with tools that measure employee performance. You can use these tools similarly to set objectives and evaluate progress over time.

2. Asana

Asana offers handy tracking tools that are applicable to nearly every vertical of an organization. It marries collaboration with goal tracking to keep your team progressing. Among the platform’s 12 key tools, the Goals feature enables teams to set specific objectives, track their progress, input subgoals and monitor team members’ contributions. 

Asana offers four plans: Basic (which is free), Premium, Business and Enterprise. The Goals feature is available only with the Business subscription, but both the Basic and Premium plans offer a task-tracking feature that can double as a manual goal-tracking system for smaller teams.

3. ClickUp

ClickUp is a top-down, nesting and hierarchy-based organizational tool. It is designed to help you organize files, links and project-related documents, both in order of importance and in terms of their relationship to one another. ClickUp includes internally nested programs called ClickApps to help streamline and customize task management. It also comes with customization tools to help you personalize your interface and workflow, along with internal collaboration tools that allow you and your team to centralize your digital workspace.

4. Databox

Databox offers a central dashboard with multiple tools and functions to track performance. If your team relies on several software platforms to track objectives, Databox stands out from other apps by enabling you to mix and match metrics for a more complete picture of how your team performs against its sales, marketing and operations goals.

Databox’s Free Forever plan allows three data source connections, the use of standard features and more than 60 integrations. Paid plans (Starter, Professional and Performer) include more connections, users, data boards and frequent updates.

5. Engagedly

Engagedly is flexible performance management software that claims to increase employee engagement by 90 percent after onboarding. Its E3 platform focuses on performance execution to enable professional development and drive employee engagement. Businesses in industries such as consulting, professional services, healthcare, education, government, technology and financial services can benefit from Engagedly’s interface. [Related article: How Professional Development Helps Your Small Business]

The platform allows teams to take control of goal accomplishment strategies and align objectives with business and department goals. With OKRs and progress bars, Engagedly helps you examine milestones, encourage mentorship and keep historical data for goal-tracking success. For expert performance and goal tracking, Engagedly’s starting annual agreement is $5,000, with E3 pricing tiers for Practitioner, Leader and Champion levels.

6. Goalscape

Goalscape is a powerful visual tool for goal setting and tracking. Based on neuroscience, Goalscape lets you create a central goal and build a dynamic graph of priorities that shade in as the goal approaches completion. The easy-to-use software, which works for both personal and professional endeavors, allows you to share your work with team members and comes with a free 14-day trial. 

7. Jira

Designed for agile teams, Jira remains a top-rated software development tool for issue tracking and management. Linked to Trello through parent company Atlassian, Jira uses the Kanban approach and flexible planning to enable the value-driven prioritization of tasks and extensive reporting with actionable results.

The Jira product line includes Jira Software, Jira Work Management, Jira Service Management and Jira Align. For enterprises looking to align strategy with outcomes, Jira Align promotes collaboration between business and technology teams while optimizing customer value.

8. Lattice

Lattice is an easy-to-use platform that offers continuous performance management capabilities for businesses. Specifically, Lattice Goals connects individual achievements with OKRs for organizational success.

In addition to providing goal setting, tracking and reporting functionality, Lattice integrates with popular platforms such as Slack, Salesforce and Microsoft Teams to meet users where they already work. Lattice offers several pricing options, so you can bundle various features for the system that works best for your operations.

9. monday.com

monday.com offers a work operating system with pre-built organizational templates, goal-tracking widgets and internal delegatory lists to help you assign and track tasks effectively. Other software tools, like QuickBooks and Todoist, can be integrated into monday.com’s Work OS for a seamless task management experience. In addition to productivity and task management functionalities, monday.com’s Work OS offers customer relationship management and developer tools to help users fine-tune their workspaces.

10. Trello

Trello is a Kanban-style web application with an emphasis on increasing productivity. Kanban — which is characterized by lean lists and efficient, continuous improvement — emerged in the 1950s from Toyota’s manufacturing arm. Now, Trello has brought list making into the 21st century. With the Kanban approach, your team can use the platform to break larger goals into minigoals that follow a progression from “Not started” to “Completed” columns. 

Thanks to Trello’s high customizability, teams in various industries can benefit from the software’s productivity tracking. It offers remote teams seamless collaboration and integrations with hundreds of other helpful apps. Trello has four plans: Free, Standard, Premium and Enterprise.

11. Weekdone

Created with small businesses in mind, Weekdone’s OKR software helps small and midsize businesses establish objectives; goal initiatives and hierarchies; OKR reports; and goal-based coaching and onboarding.

Team and company leaders set the goals and general direction for employees, who then develop specific objectives and key results to track and measure their progress throughout a projected time frame. Weekdone even supports your team with OKR coaches to help you develop good habits and build a successful, goal-oriented company culture.

FYIDid you know
The right goal-tracking software for your company depends on your team’s internal and external goals, the long-term cost, and how much you need to scale or customize the platform.

What are the benefits of goal setting and tracking tools?

Goal setting and tracking tools can have a profound impact on your business. When you follow our tips for setting better business goals, you’ll reap the following benefits.

Enhanced productivity

With clear goals in mind, teams have a path to follow, which boosts productivity through meaningful work activities. Decreasing or eliminating processes that don’t contribute to a specific goal enables each team member to spend their time on tasks that serve the company’s larger vision. See our small business productivity guide for more insights on increasing employee performance.

Increased team unity

Teams with a common goal are almost four times as likely to remain committed to their company than teams without a shared goal, according to BI Worldwide. A central business objective with measurable progress accessible to each employee motivates teams to work together to achieve the objective. A positive byproduct is reduced employee turnover.

Reduced confusion

Leaders who set SMART goals with clear KPIs decrease confusion among their staff about their job’s purpose, mission and daily responsibilities. With specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals, each team member can conceptualize their role from the perspective of helping the company progress toward the end objective.

Informed decision-making

Companies that set strategic goals — and refer back to them to track and maintain progress — often have better decision-making skills, leading to greater success. When companies are unable to anchor their daily work to a tangible long-term strategic goal, it can lead to poor decision-making, thereby putting the company at a competitive disadvantage in both the short and long term.

Better team performance

Tracking strategic goals using productivity and organizational tools can help your company stay on top of progress toward business goals and foster improved performance. By continuously monitoring productivity and advancement, you can find areas where improvement is needed, encourage accountability, and acknowledge and reward exceptional performance.

author image
Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Sean Peek co-founded and self-funded a small business that's grown to include more than a dozen dedicated team members. Over the years, he's become adept at navigating the intricacies of bootstrapping a new business, overseeing day-to-day operations, utilizing process automation to increase efficiencies and cut costs, and leading a small workforce. This journey has afforded him a profound understanding of the B2B landscape and the critical challenges business owners face as they start and grow their enterprises today. In addition to running his own business, Peek shares his firsthand experiences and vast knowledge to support fellow entrepreneurs, offering guidance on everything from business software to marketing strategies to HR management. In fact, his expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc. and Forbes and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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