Get clarity on goals with a continuum

We worked on a project with our team and met our goal!
Except, management isn't happy - they expected something else.

Seeing if we have alignment on goals is easy if we gather the team and stakeholders for 10 minutes and use a continuum.

There are certain categories that goals will fall within. A continuum is a way we can list those categories, get alignment, and gain an understanding of how 'big' of a project this is going to be. We get clarity on our goals.

Is it hard? Not at all. Is it eye-opening? Sometimes. It can help us move forward with a discussion to help ensure we're all successful.

Continuum for Goals

A continuum is a quick, visual way to get alignment about project goals.

If we think there's the slightest chance that there could be misinterpretation in a project or task goal, then we have a quick meeting with our team and stakeholders.

We can make it a formal meeting or use it as a quick check. You can also make it part of the project charter. Remotely, you can do this using a whiteboard or a polling app.

Purpose: Make sure that everyone understands the goal in the same way and edit the goal, if needed.

Agenda: Individually compare our goal objective against a continuum. Edit the goal, if needed.

Attendees: project team and stakeholders

  1. Write down the goal (as currently stated) for everyone to see.
  2. Draw out a continuum.
  3. Ask each attendee to mark where they think this project lies on the continuum.
  4. If there's a disconnect, facilitate the team and the stakeholders through editing the description of the goal.

Keep it simple! Like many quality tools, this is a visual way to standardize the communication across a team. It helps the team and stakeholders have individual input and to understand what everyone else is thinking. The ultimate goal is to move ahead in the project with confidence - quickly.

Did you find an idea, help, or inspiration? Then please share:


  1. Robert Dulan on October 31, 2022 at 1:39 PM

    Sounds like a good exercise to use during the Define stage of a DMAIC process. Also, when solving a problem, depending on the root cause, it may lead you to a product, process or service path.

    • Dianna on November 1, 2022 at 4:21 PM

      Yes, it could be used in DMAIC and other planning, you’re right. It’s a quick check that may help certain teams communicate and get alignment, which is very important in planning.

  2. Gregory Hutchins on October 31, 2022 at 12:47 PM

    Great voice. Great pacing. Great story.

    • Dianna on November 1, 2022 at 4:13 PM

      Glad you liked the story. Something like it has happened to many of us!

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