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Once you have planned your project, turn your attention to developing several goals that will enable you to be successful. Goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.
A goal might be to hold a weekly project meeting with the key members of your team or to organise and run a continuous test programme throughout the project.
The acronym SMART has a number of slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition for goal setting:
S - specific, significant, stretching
M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - time-based, timely, tangible, trackable
This provides a broader definition that will help you to be successful in both your business and personal life.
When you next run a project take a moment to consider whether your goals are SMART goals.
To quote renowned American philanthropist Elbert Hubbard:
"Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage, but simply because they have never organised their energies around a goal."
- Well defined
- Clear to anyone that has a basic knowledge of the project
- Know if the goal is obtainable and how far away completion is
- Know when it has been achieved
- Agreement with all the stakeholders what the goals should be
- Within the availability of resources, knowledge and time
- Enough time to achieve the goal
- Not too much time, which can affect project performance
Download our free SMARTER Goals template.
How to Write a SMART Goal (Video)
The acronym SMART tells us to write achievable and effective goals, but how do you write a SMART goal? This short video tutorial looks at the dos and don'ts of writing SMART goals.
8 Strategies for Achieving SMART Goals
Setting goals is easy but achieving them isn't. That's why setting "SMART" goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely - is the first step in making your goal a reality.
Use SMART Objectives to Focus Goals, Plans and Performance
Objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-bound) are likely to be achieved. Learn how to develop SMART objectives with the power to focus goals, work plans, and commitment to performance targets. Because meaningful and practical measures are built in, SMART objectives also enable feedback and learning that can keep you on track to success.
Setting SMARTER Goals in 7 Easy Steps
The mnemonics SMART and SMARTER are useful when setting project goals and objectives. They provide a way of ensuring everyone understands them, they are trackable, relevant, there are enough resources to achieve them and a firm deadline is set. Try these seven steps to help you set SMARTER goals for your projects.
Common Cost Management Mistakes
- Not understanding what is involved to complete an item of work.
- Starting with an amount of money and making the project cost fit it.
- Assigning resources at more than 80% utilisation.
- Failing to build in contingency.
- Providing estimates under pressure in project meetings.
21 Ways to Excel at Project Management
The popular project management eBook fully updated and available as a website.