Goals and Anti-Goals


What is this method?

Identify and prioritize key goals (product, business, learning) and anti-goals.

Why do it?

Goals help the team decide where to focus their time and efforts. As you start to create a product, there will be a lot of great ideas, some which are helpful, others which distract. Setting clear goals and working toward them can help you to stay focused and put the distractions aside.

By developing them hand in hand with stakeholders, we can align ourselves around shared goals and avoid any unnecessary or unwanted surprises down the road.

When to do it?

It is recommended to do this exercise as early as possible during a project, usually defining them during a kickoff meeting and revisiting them from time to time.

Facilitator Directions

Step 1: Define Goals (30 min)

  • Ask everyone to brainstorm and write as many ideas as possible, 1 per Sticky Note.

  • Have each person pick their top 2 goals for each category (product, business and learning) and discard everything else. Remember to mention that this is OK!

  • Have everyone share out the 6 goals they selected and place them in the appropriate category.

  • When everyone has shared, tell everyone to use 6 stars per person and vote on their top 2 product, business, and learning goals. Circle the top 2 goals that emerge.

  • Confirm with key stakeholder(s) if there’s anything else really important that we’ve missed. If so, circle those as well or write them down.

Step 2: Define Anti-Goals (20 min)

  • Ask everyone to write down anti-goals.

  • Have everyone share out the anti-goals they selected and place them on the board.

  • Confirm with key stakeholder(s) again if there’s anything else that was not mentioned yet.

Success/Expected Outcomes

Success is when the core team and stakeholders have a clear and shared understanding of the top product, business, learning, and anti-goals.


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VMware Tanzu Labs
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