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Goal map

Article last modified: Mar 29, 2020

Identify, discuss, and prioritize a list of goals for a project, department, or organization.

Why to use? For a new employee portal, management identified a list of 10 goals. When stakeholders mapped their goals, they discovered the project goals were inaccurate and incorrectly prioritized. Goal mapping helped the team deliver to the updated, more accurate goals to achieve success with the project.

When to use? Map and align on goals at the beginning of a new project to make sure the team stays aligned around what’s most important. Goal mapping can also help in the middle of a project when teams disagree about how to accomplish something. These disagreements may signal deeper misalignment on project goals.

Download templates and framing material
project-goal-mapping.pptx (71.59 kB). File last modified 06/23/19

How Goal Mapping Works

  • Any number of participants up to 12
  • More than 12 participants, break into groups or identify other ways to generate and share goals
  • Goal mapping works if you start with nothing.
  • You can seed discussion
    • Use a list of pre-existing goals.
    • Ask teammates to share three goals ahead of the exercise.
    • If your organization defined goals before the project started, use the pre-defined goals
  • Individually, everyone generates what they perceive as the goals for the project, department, or organization and shares their goals with the group.
  • Working together, everyone groups goals by similarity to create themes
  • Working together, everyone names each theme
  • Working together, everyone prioritizes themes from most to least important
  • Goals from everyone on the team
  • Themes that describe the team’s goals
  • A prioritized list of goal themes


Goal map
Draw or project a goal map on a whiteboard or wall or draw the map on a piece of paper. Use a blank space, or use a 3x3 grid to help participants with grouping.
Individual goals
Once identified, participants will move goals to group them into themes. Use movable sticky notes, pieces of paper, or make them easy-to-erase and rewrite.
Goal themes
Themes may also be moved. Use movable sticky notes, pieces of paper, or make them easy-to-erase and rewrite.

Further resources

The following resources provide more information about using this method.

Collaborative Product Design by Austin Govella

Book cover for Collaborative Product Design by Austin Govella

Chapter six provides detail on variations and alternatives for using this method.