Without any ability to measure business goals, they become meaningless. You can set goals until the cows come home, but you can’t accomplish them. Using benchmarks and milestones can be of great help when measuring goals.
If you can find a benchmark on a particular goal or set of tasks, this can be used as a rough estimate of how long something should take and what kinds of procedures were used. This is by far, the best scenario because you have a guideline to refer. If you don’t find a benchmark, then you will have to make a ballpark guess. You also won’t know how successful the tasks were.
Milestones are a great tool to keep everyone in the game. You can either set up the milestones for each task or you can have one milestone for the goal. The person responsible for this particular goal will choose how to complete the underlying tasks, as long as they get them all done by the milestone date. Some managers will choose a combination of milestones for the goal as well as the tasks. In fact, a project management tool would summarize the milestones for the tasks and roll them up as a single date for the goal.
On occasion, situations will come up that make it impossible to get the tasks completed in time. They may need sign off from upper management, and this was not known when the tasks were set. The materials to accomplish the goals may not be available by a supplier and finding alternatives push the dates out into the future. The person responsible for completing the tasks may rely on input from another department in the company, and that other department is not cooperating. These are all valid delays that a manager will need to account for.
If there are valid delays, try to reallocate the person who was working on those tasks onto something else. Perhaps he can help other members get their tasks completed faster. Or, the person experiencing the delays can perform auxiliary tasks for other team members such as getting signatures or information from groups willing to cooperate.
One of the key elements when measuring the success of business goals is communication. The team members need to make the manager aware of any issues they have so he or she can try to step in to facilitate the needed resources. Other team members may need resources from the team which will only be known by proper communication.