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How to Set Goals vs. Objectives for Any Project in Asana

What’s the goal of your business this year? Perhaps to hit a specific turnover figure? Increase customer loyalty? Or improve your employee retention rate? Whatever your desired outcome, set goals and objectives in Asana, and you’ll have a super clear business target to aim for.

119,000 paying customers and millions of companies on the free plan already use Asana to map out business goals and objectives for IT projects, new product launches, marketing campaigns, and more! This guide will teach you the differences between goals and objectives and how to use this amazing productivity tool to achieve both.

What Is a Goal in Asana?

Think of a goal as the big picture and end result of your project. Goals can be long-term and difficult to measure, but they’re also integral to your company’s success.

An example of a goal you could set up in Asana is “Build a sustainable company.” This is a huge goal; some would even say it’s vague. But by sharing this important and positive goal across your entire organization, you’ll ensure your teams are aligned and working towards a common and specific target.

How Do Goals vs. Objectives Work in Asana?

The main difference between project goals and objectives is that goals are wide and long-term. On the other hand, objectives are the smaller, measurable steps you’ll take to reach your goal.

Need an example? For the goal “Build a sustainable company,” an objective might be “Achieve sustainable business certification by the end of Q3.” Note that this specific, measurable action (did we achieve certification?) has a timeline associated with it (did we hit this target by the end of the quarter?).

In Asana, you’ll set both goals and sub-goals (which act as objectives) to create a successful project plan. If you need help defining the details of your goals and objectives, why not set SMART goals using the below framework to help you pinpoint exactly what you wish to accomplish? Follow the SMART criteria:

  • Specific: Provide a detailed outline of your goal and objectives, including the specific actions you need to take.
  • Measurable: Define how to measure your progress—how will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
  • Attainable: Ensure your goal is realistic, and that you have the necessary resources to succeed.
  • Relevant: Is your goal worthwhile to your company and relevant in the current economic climate/industry you’re in?
  • Time-bound: Use a clear timeframe with deadlines to keep you motivated and on track. This is appropriate for both short-term goals and long-term goals.

Understanding the OKR Methodology

Asana uses an OKR approach to goals. This means that for each objective (O), you’ll set a measurable key result (KR) using the in-built progress metric system. This should be something that’s quantifiable to track your progress and assess whether you’re on track to achieve your desired results.

OKRs differ from KPIs (key performance indicators), where you set a target and then measure how close you’ve come to hitting that target.

How to Set Progress Metrics for Your Goals and Objectives

Even though there are differences between goals and objectives, you’ll set up progress metrics for both to track your progress. In Asana, there are three progress metrics to choose from:


Choose this type of goal if you have a concrete figure you need to achieve. For example, if you want 1,000 subscribers of your SaaS product to upgrade from the free to the premium version. The numeric metric can also be used for binary goals where 0 and 1 are your only values. 0 would be when the goal hasn’t been achieved yet, and 1 would be when the goal has been met or exceeded.


This is a great option for qualitative goals. If 100% means you’ve achieved your goal to improve employee engagement, and 0% is your starting point, use the description box in Asana to define how you’ll know when you’ve reached the 25%, 50%, and 75% milestones. Alternatively, use this progress metric to increase sales leads or newsletter signups by 25%.


Currency goals are straightforward and relate to any goal-tracking involving money. For example, you may want to increase your turnover to $750,000 or reduce office waste by $100,000.

How to Set a Goal vs. Objective in Asana

In Asana, you’ll either set personalized or company-wide goals, allowing you to align your teams and departments with clear goals vs. objectives. If you’ve been using disjointed spreadsheets and email chains to keep your team goals on track, you’ll find that Asana is a much more efficient project management tool.

Setting Personal Goals in Asana

Setting personal goals in Asana is as simple as clicking on Goals in the left-hand navigation pane. At the top, you’ll click on My Goals and Add Goal to open a new box. Choose a name and settings for your goal before clicking Save.

Setting Team or Company Goals in Asana

Within team and company goals, you have the option to set a Mission at the top of the goal dashboard. Your mission statement will inspire your team members and keep everyone motivated to achieve your company goals. Use this as an opportunity to give your co-workers more clarity in their workflow.

Within the broad goal you’ve defined, you’ll have the option to add a description to your goal. Provide more context, describe why it’s important and how you’ll know when you’ve collectively achieved success.

Setting Sub-Goals, Sub-Objectives, or Key Results

Your sub-goals, sub-objectives, and key results are how you’ll break down your broader goal into smaller steps. Each objective or sub-goal will take you one step closer to meeting your overall goal. (Tip: Use the Asana Chrome Extension for Project Management here if you need to add URLs to specific tasks.)

Example: if your broad goal is to “Build a sustainable business,” you might set several sub-objectives, such as “Go paperless by next year” (using a binary progress metric of 0 to 1) or “Reduce office energy bills” (using a currency progress metric with a specific value).

Changing Your Goal Privacy Settings

The goal privacy settings give you the freedom to share your goals with colleagues as required. You may want to keep these private for personal goals, allowing you to progress at your own pace.

Alternatively, public goals encourage accountability and allow anyone assigned to the goal to add their comments and feedback. This is a valuable way to encourage group discussions or provide extra insights for anyone with access to these public team or company goals. If you need to duck out of any group notifications, it’s easy to set yourself as away on Asana.

Start Setting Your Goals vs. Objectives in Asana

Asana offers an intuitive interface to help you organize and progress your company goals. It’s easy to bridge communication gaps across teams once you’ve set up your goals and objectives and have provided context about what you’re trying to accomplish.

Start adding your teammates to Asana, share your goals and objectives with them, and you’ll be one step closer to business success.

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