SMART objectivesPosted: November 14, 2007
Setting objectives for yourself and for others is a critical organizational function. This will be painfully clear to anyone who’s ever sat in a team meeting where some “critical corporate goal” was described but no specific actions were assigned and everyone left the meeting wondering, “Ummm, so what am I supposed to do now?”
The SMART framework helps make objectives crystal clear so that anyone who is on the assigning or the receiving end of a SMART objective really understands exactly what actions are going to take place, by when, and how to measure success.
SMART is an acronym for:
- Specific: is the objective described in concrete, actionable detail?
- Measurable: what quantitative measurements will tell us when the objective has been achieved?
- Attainable: is the objective really achievable within budget and schedule constraints?
- Results-oriented: what tangible work output does the objective produce? (i.e., not just conversations and ideas)
- Time-driven: what is the due date for the objective?
I think the SMART framework for writing and communicating objectives is invaluable — it applies at all levels of any organization, whether setting corporate objectives for a business unit, specifying product initiatives/featuresets, or day-to-day management of individuals.