Add Objectives to the Focus Areas
  • 18 Sep 2023
  • 11 Minutes to read
  • Contributors

Add Objectives to the Focus Areas

Article Summary

Objectives are the most important part of Cascade - they represent 'the impact you’re trying to have' and are the main components of any strategic plan. For example, some objectives may be - Increase website traffic, achieve NPS 25, reduce churn rate, target 2m revenue in Q2, and so on.

In Cascade, the term Objective refers to the items inside your Focus Areas. Objectives can exist on their own, or they can contain other components, such as:

  • Projects (these have actions nested under them!)
  • Measures
  • Actions
  • Nested objectives (low level new objectives)
  • Contributing objectives (existing objectives)

While onboarding, soon after you sign-up, the first step we ask of you is to create a few objectives. Though it is advisable to get started right away, you can also skip adding objectives at this point in time, and do it later. Adding objectives in Cascade is intuitive, straightforward, and is accessible from almost anywhere in the workspace! Get some inspiration from our blog to know more on strategic objectives and initiatives.

From the Add objective sidebar:

Click on the top-right corner of any of the pages, and click Add objective. The Add objective sidebar opens.

From there, fill in the details:

  1. Name your Objective - Just name your Objective something that gets across what you are trying to accomplish. Though there's no character limitation, keep the title concise and use the Description field to provide additional context.
  2. Set a Start Date and End Date - set a timeline for your Objective. The Start Date will default to today, but you can set it in the future or the past. The End Date is just as flexible - it just has to be after the start date.
  3. Assign the Owners and Collaborators - the owner will default to you, since you added the objective. You can add collaborators, who'll be able to work on the objective and update it.
  4. Update Schedule - Set schedule cadence to post updates for your objective. Once set, the owner of the objective will receive notifications both in-app and mail to remind them to make progress updates! See Set-up Reminders for Goal Updatesfor details.
    While the notifications will not be triggered if the objective is past the end date that's set up, you'll still be notified if the health is "Achieved" or "Exceeded" to enable you to make updates and let everyone know if the objective is still keeping well!
  5. Set the Strategic Contribution - this Contributes to area will determine where your Objective fits into your plan - where it contributes to the strategy. You can pick the plan it fits into, and the Focus Area(s) it falls in. You can share the objective with other plans from here - Under Other contributions, click the + icon and search for the plan and focus area with which this objective needs to be shared with!
  6. Create the Success Criteria - these are sub-items that will determine what is required to make your Objective successful. There are a few options for the success criteria. They can be Objectives (nested and contributing), Projects, Measures, and Actions.
In "Enterprise" tiers, you'll see one more field - "Type". Add types to define the category of work from the Admin > Strategy Model. See Add Goal Types: Advance Strategy Model Customization for details.

Click Save, and the Objective is created with all the relevant details.

From the Planner page:

Click + icon (at the top level) inside an existing Focus Area. You can add an objective

  • inline
  • or, by selecting an existing objective from another plan or owner - "shared" objectiveAdd Objective_Planner

Add an Inline Objective

Name your objective, and click Save. The added objective will be added inline, and will look like this under the focus area.

Hover the mouse over the objective row to 

  • edit the title, owner and date inline by clicking on the Pencil icon, owner and due date fields respectively,
  • explore details from the goal hub by clicking the goal hub icon, and
  • view the alignment of objective in the objective alignment map by clicking the alignment icon. 

Click the three dots to edit the objective from the Edit Objective sidebar (Check out The 'Sidebar' article to know what's done there!), or click Add success criteria to add a project/measure/action/contributing objective to keep working on this objective! 

Add an Existing Objective (Shared Objective)

If there is an objective that's already added in your workspace, which you too need for your plan, then you can share (duplicate) that objective. For example, there is a Sales Plan which has one of its objectives as "Hire a new Sales Lead in APAC", and you're coming up with a "Q2 Growth Plan" which has a focus area "Expansion in APAC", and its objective also needs to be "Hire a new Sales Lead in APAC"- in this case, you can search for that existing objective, and add to your plan.

You can add an existing objective within the same plan too, but it must belong to a different focus area!

Click Add existing objective - My objective library opens.

Add Existing Objective

Either type and search for objectives, or filter by owner or plan, and choose the objective from the list, and click Add objective

The objective and its associated success criteria will be added to the focus area. You can still add your own projects/measures/actions/contributing objectives to this shared objective. Since this is a shared objective, whenever there is a progress made, it'll reflect in all the places where it's added.

When there're shared objectives in your workspace, you can find how they're horizontally aligned across plans from the alignment score in the Alignment page.

You can view all the objectives that're assigned to you under the My upcoming goals section of your Home page!

Shared Objective Vs Contributing Objective Vs Nested Objective:

Shared or linked objectives are those that are shared across plans and contribute to the plan's success. Here, the relationship is between different plans. Note that, when an objective is shared, the associated success criteria are also shared and available in the plans that they're part of! Use them when you're collaborating on the same objective from different plans! For example, an objective "Net positive impact on the environment" can be shared between the Corporate Plan as well as the Operations Plan!

Contributing objectives are those that are linked to a parent objective and contribute to the parent objective's success. Here, the relationship is between these two objectives in the same or different plan. There is a transfer of health and progress between the objectives. Use them when an objective is linked or contributing to the success of another (parent) objective! For example, the objective "Total revenue in sales" in the Sales plan can be contributing to the objective "Achieve ARR of 20m$" in Corporate Plan or Revenue Operations Plan.

Nested objectives are those that are broken down from the complex high level objective and added as a success criteria to the parent objective. Here, the relationship is between the child and the parent objective and this cannot be shared or linked to any other objectives or plans. Use them when you want to break down your parent objective to more focused and actionable outcomes which can be executed by specific individuals. For example, an objective "Explore usage of AI and ML in operations" can be a nested objective for the parent objective "Use technology advancements to improve operations", irrespective of the plan or focus area it resides in!

Edit Objective from its Sidebar:

When you edit a objective from its sidebar, you can provide additional context that you wish to add on to the measure. These can be:

  • (Enterprise-only) Types added to the objectives to define their category of work. See Add Goal Types: Advance Strategy Model Customization for details.
  • (Enterprise-only) Custom fields defined for the objectives and saved in a template. You can populate data against those from here. See Apply Templates with Custom Fields to Plans for details.
  • (All tiers) Risks added to the objective along with its impact, likelihood, and mitigations. See Add Risks for details.
  • (All tiers) Relationships between objectives, or actions, measures, and projects. You can define "Contributor" relationship only between two objectives, but the health or progress will not be transferred between them. See Add Relationships for details.

See the article on Sidebar for more insights into the functionalities offered within it.


Can I rename or give an alias to the objective?

Yes, if you're an Admin, then from the Profile picture/initials > Admin > Strategy model, click the Pencil icon against the Objective, and give it an alias or label of your choice. Once done, click Save. The new naming will be reflected across the workspace!

How to align objectives?

You can align objectives to the parent or high level objectives by adding contributing or nested objectives to it. See Add Contributing Objectives to your Objectives and Add Nested Objectives to your Objectives to learn how to add those!

What do collaborators do?

Like the name suggests, they collaborate on the goals, i.e., add or edit goals, add the existing users in the workspace to the goals, change owners, due dates and targets, add risks and relationships and so on. However, if you wish to restrict their access only to the goals that they collaborate on, then you can assign them can view access from the Share modal.

Can I reorder the objectives within a plan?

Yes! Click Reorder plan, and click the drag and drop icon to reorder the objectives within a focus area! Once done, click Complete reordering to save the changes.

If you wish to move them across focus areas of the same plan or a different plan, then click the three dots against the objective and click Move. In the Move this objective modal, click To a plan, and select the relevant plan from the list.

Once the plan is chosen, it'll list all the focus areas in that plan; choose the relevant focus area under Select focus areas, and click Confirm. You can choose more than one focus area and in that case, the objectives will be available in all the selected focus areas.

Alternatively, you can open the objective in the Edit sidebar view, and under the Contributes to section, click Edit across Parent, and choose the plan and focus area details to which the objective must be moved to!

I want some extra fields like Timelines, Priority, RAG status, etc., to be added at an objective level!

Use the custom fields to create any number of additional fields that you wish to have in your objectives, and create templates. Apply them to the plans, and populate values against those to pull insights! See Create Templates and Custom Fields for details.

If you wish to add risks, you can add those from the Risks tab of the Objective's sidebar.

I have success criteria defined in the Objectives with updated progress and health, but in the Objective, I see "Tracking has not been defined for the success criteria"!

This would be because of weighting enabled in those objectives. Except for weighted by all success criteria evenly, while you're choosing weighting by measures, or by actions and projects, or by objectives, you need to manually toggle the Not weighted option on to include them for progress calculation! Once you toggle the weighted option on the relevant entity, the objective will show the progress and health!

Where do I see the objectives assigned to me?

These're (including nested objectives) listed under the My upcoming goals of your Home page! If you also have measures, projects or actions assigned to you, then those objectives under which these initiatives are housed will also appear in the list here!

How is the progress and health calculated for an objective?

The progress is calculated by the average of all its associated success criteria, i.e., (sum of the progress percentages of all success criteria)/number of success criteria. Depending on the value that's obtained, the health is calculated - At risk (<84%), Behind (85-94%), On track (95-105%), Achieved (when the target is met).

You can also add weights to the success criteria, and based on the weighting options, the progress and health of the objective would be calculated. See Add Weights to define the Progress of your Objectives for more details!

Can I add dependencies to objectives?

Yes, from the Relationships tab of the Objective's sidebar, you can add dependencies, blockers, risks, etc., between objectives and other initiatives. You can add contributor relationship only between two objectives so that they're aligned. See Add Relationships for details.

You can view how aligned are your objectives from the Alignment > Align > Objectives tab. See View the Alignment of your Objectives for details.

How to change the owner of an objective?

Please note that you can add only those users who're already added to the workspace! You can do this inline or from the sidebar:

  • Inline - In the Planner page, click the owner profile icon, and from the drop-down list, choose the user you wish to assign the ownership to!
  • Sidebar - From the Edit sidebar, under the Owner section, choose the user from the drop-down list.

If you wish to add collaborators to work together on the objectives, you can add them from the Edit sidebar > Collaborators section.

How many objectives can be there in a plan?

Its advisable to have not more than 5 to 8 objectives in a plan!

Can I have objectives shared between focus areas or plans?

Yes! You can create shared or linked objectives in either of these ways:

  • Planner page - Click Add objective, and click Add existing objective. Search for the relevant objective from the Objective library and add them!
  • Sidebar - From the Edit sidebar, under the Contributes to section, click + against Other contributions, and choose the relevant plan and focus area to which this objective can be shared with. More the plans to which it's linked, more aligned your goals are!

How do I get insights on just the objectives' performances?

There're a couple of ways from which you can get insights just from the objectives or goals in your workspace!

You can filter them by due dates, owners, progress, teams, and so on, as available in those widgets or report tables to get the information you wish to see!

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