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Writing SMART Goals

Writing SMART Goals

Author: Jeff Carroll

Determine the missing component of a SMART goal.

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Source: Image of circle arrow, ruler, gears, Public Domain, Sparkol VideoScribe Internal Image; Image of hurdler, Public Domain,; Image of progress bar, Public Domain,

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Hi, I'm Jeff. And in this lesson, we'll learn how to write SMART goals. Goals for a project must be clear and concise. And each goal should be one sentence that describes the focus and outcome of a project. One method project managers use to write these goals is to rely on the acronym SMART So what does SMART stand for? Let's break it down-- SMART.

S equals specific. Any goals should be clear and distinct from other goals. M equals measurable. It should be obvious when a goal is completed, and it should be simple to track the percent done. A equals action-oriented. That means the goal should be written so that they describe the actions taken with the deliverables of the project. R equals realistic. It must be reasonable to complete the goal in the schedule and budget allotted, using the resources the project has available. And T equals time-phased. A goal must have a deadline that fits within the schedule.

S-M-A-R-T-- SMART-- easy to remember. Each project objective should be stated as a SMART goal. Let's look at an example. Within six months, the salesmen in the field should be able to enter their orders on tablet computers without the assistance of technical support.

This is a SMART Goal. It's specific. We know who the goal impacts. And we know what those people need to do. It's measurable. It's obvious when it's complete. And we can track progress toward the goal. The goal is action-oriented. It focuses on the tasks performed by the users.

Is it realistic? You may have already realized that we need to know the budget, schedule, and resources to know for sure. But this task does appear achievable, so we'll consider it realistic. And it's time-phased. It needs to be complete within six months. See, that's how you use the SMART Acronym to help structure the text for an objective.

Now let's look at another goal. The design for our new line of headphone should allow users the ability to adjust the volume on their microphone with one simple control. Take a few seconds to review this SMART Goal. Does it meet all the criteria? No. It doesn't. It is specific, measurable, action-oriented, and realistic. But we don't know when this product is needed.

The goal assumes that everyone knows when the new line will be released, but what if they don't. Maybe the engineers will plan on using electronics that aren't available until the new line should be shipped. And that's a problem. So let's edit the goal to make it time-phased. There we go. Now it's a SMART goal.

So now you can write smart goals. Nicely done. In this lesson, you learned what the acronym SMART means. And you learned the role SMART goals play in a project. And then you saw examples of actual SMART goals. Thanks for your time, and have a great day.