S.M.A.R.T is an acronym, giving criteria and guidance in setting Objectives and Action Items, for creating and tracking goals.
SMART goals are commonly used in the business and organisational context to measure the progress of projects, team work, employee performance and personal development, but can apply to other areas as well.
The first known use of the term occurs in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. But the SMART criteria are also, frequently attributed to Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives concept. Since then, the SMART tool has come to mean different things to different people, using it for making sure that their goals are reachable.
Typically, the most common uses are:
Specific (also: simple, sensible, significant, strategic).
Measurable (also: meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (also: action-oriented, agreed, attainable,).
Relevant (also: result-based, reasonable, realistic and resourced).
Time-bound (also: time-based, time/cost limited, timely, time- sensitive).
Using the SMART model will help you get the clarity and the focus you need to define your goals and the way to achieving them by encouraging you to set measurements, define specific action items and your completion date.
How to use the S.M.A.R.T model
The advantage of the S.M.A.R.T model is that it’s easy to understand and to apply. You simply need to ask yourself questions in each of these areas and make sure that you are setting clear objectives to support achieving your goals.
Specific > Target a specific area for improvement and make sure you know to define this area.
- What, exactly, do I want to achieve?
- What is outside of my goal’s scope?
- Which resources do I need?
You can also ask yourself how much your goal is Simple, Sensible, Significant and / or Strategic.
Measurable > Quantify as much as possible and suggest how you can measure your success.
- What would success look like and how can I measure it?
- How many?
- What is my target number(s)?
You can also ask yourself, how much your goal is Meaningful or Motivating for you.
Achievable > Check that your goal is realistic to your given time
constraints and resources Ask yourself:
- Is this goal realistic with my given resources
- What other resources do I need to accomplish my goal?
You can also ask yourself if your goal is Action oriented? Agreed? Attainable?
Relevant > Verify that your goal is significant to you and that your
- Do I want to focus on this goal?
- Is this goal important enough to me, so I will spend time on achieving it?
- Did I set the right objectives?
You can also ask yourself is this goal Result-based? Reasonable?
Time-bound > Specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
- When will I accomplish my goal?
- What will change in X weeks from now?
You can also ask yourself question about time limitations