Contact Us

Install Toolbar

See Article Categories

SMART Goals

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
Blackboard with the SMART Goal definition written on it

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, time-bound, 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."

SMART Goals

Specific

  • Well defined.
  • Clear to anyone that has a basic knowledge of the project.

Measurable

  • Know if the goal is obtainable and how far away completion is.
  • Know when it has been achieved.

Agreed Upon

  • Agreement with all the stakeholders what the goals should be.

Realistic

  • Within the availability of resources, knowledge and time.

Time-Based

  • Enough time to achieve the goal.
  • Not too much time, which can affect project performance.

Word Icon Download our free SMARTER Goals template

We welcome constructive comments and approve any that meet our guidelines. It means providing helpful information that contributes to an article or discussion.

Comments (4)

Topic: SMART Goals
5/5 (5)
Gravatar
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarEmpty Star
Mohammad (Beirut) says...
I think all our goals and objectives must be set in accordance with SMART. However, it is more important to think of practical tools for implementation, follow-up and review to give useful feedback that touches the set and planned objectives or goals.
4th November 2014 10:47am
Gravatar
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Peter Ridgway-Davies (Stafford) says...
The time-bound description is perfect for Agile projects using sprints and time-boxes.
23rd June 2014 2:20pm
Gravatar
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Ken Butcher says...
Maybe it's a difference between British and American English, but "time-bound" doesn't sound right to me. For me, that would mean that someone had tied it up (bound it) in ties made of time. ("Bound" being the irregular past participle of "to bind".)

I would have used "bounded", the past participle of the regular transitive verb "to bound" something, meaning to set bounds or boundaries on it.

(My wife suggested that something "time-bound" might be on a journey towards time.)

Otherwise, very useful stuff, and much appreciated.
27th May 2014 8:48pm
Gravatar
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Duncan Haughey (London) says...
I've always read "time-bound" as tied to a specific time period, not open ended. Perhaps "time-based" is better.

I prefer "timely", because it adds a sense of urgency to achieving your goals.
27th May 2014 10:23pm

Add Comment

*Required information
(never displayed)
 
1500
What is the fifth month of the year?
 
Enter answer:
 
Notify me of new comments via email.
 
Remember my form inputs on this computer.
 

Article Categories

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.

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.

A Brief History of SMART Goals
In this history of SMART goals, I look at where the acronym came from, who developed it, what the critics say and why it has become popular.

Setting SMARTER Goals in 7 Easy Steps
The mnemonics SMART and SMARTER are useful when setting project goals and objectives. Here are 7 steps to help you set smarter goals for your projects.

Information Icon Nine Types of Leader

Using the Enneagram Personality Types:

  1. The Perfectionist.
  2. The People Pleaser.
  3. The Achiever.
  4. The Individualist.
  5. The Detached Observer.
  6. The Loyal Skeptic.
  7. The Enthusiast.
  8. The Boss.
  9. The Peacemaker.

Discover our forum where you can ask questions, get advice from other people and share your experience.Speech bubbles