I’m not sure where I first saw the mnemonic acronym SMART. I think it was probably back in the late 1980’s when I was reading everything I could get my hands on by Peter Drucker, a management guru back in the day. Anyway, whenever I take on a new project, that acronym pops into my head. It relates to setting and defining goals – Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-bound.
Here’s my take on being SMART, as I use the concept in my daily life:
Specific. What specifically are we trying to accomplish? Paint a target on the back of what you are trying to accomplish so we all know where the bull’s-eye is.
Measurable. You need to quantify how you are going to measure success, or you’ll never know when you’re there! I usually like to break this down even further – how do we measure success for step one of our plan, how do we measure success for step two, and so on.
Assignable. I’d like to know specifically what everyone’s assignment is, so we’re not stepping on each other’s feet. If tasks can be assigned, they can be measured.
Realistic. Let’s be honest with ourselves, what can we realistically accomplish? No pie in the sky dreams, let’s look at what we can do with the resources we have today.
Time-related. When will we achieve our desired results? A firm (but flexible as the project progresses) time-line is essential in order to measure the assignable, realistic goals.