Planning and managing organisations/PMAN103/Setting goals, objectives and measures/The S.M.A.R.T. Method

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  • Before reading about the S.M.A.R.T. method, complete this brief spot poll about your previous knowledge of this method.

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The S.M.A.R.T. method
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In the previous video, you learned about the S.M.A.R.T. method. Here is a summary of the information presented.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that means Specific Measurable Actionable Relevant Time-bound. A S.M.A.R.T. set of goals/objectives is one that meets the following criteria:

  • Specific: It is important to define an objective that is specific because otherwise it won't be precise enough for you to know how long it will take to complete, how to plan steps to complete it or how to measure whether you have attained it successfully or not.
  • Measurable: Whatever the measures or metric you use to evaluate achievement, you need to make sure it is appropriate enough to tell you with certainty whether the goal/objective was attained or not.
  • Actionable: This is where you make a plan to achieve your goal/objective. Your plan should include steps that are realistic as well as list the resources and skills you will need to attain the goal/objective. If it is complex, you might want to subdivide it into sub-objectives which makes achievement more incremental, thus actionable, and measurable. Remember that setting unrealistic goals/objectives will only make them irrelevant as your organization will have no chance of attaining them.
  • Relevant: A common difficulty in setting goals/objectives is knowing when their completion is relevant. This means you need to figure out an order of priority. To do this you can use the effort versus value scale and prioritize goals that require low effort and give high value. Another method is the 80 / 20 rule where you prioritize the 20% of goals that will give you the 80% of your value.
  • Time-bound: No objective is complete unless it is set in time and has an end date. Otherwise, it would be impossible to gauge progress.

Finally, setting goals/objectives and using measures to gauge success is a dynamic process that requires constant action, evaluation and revision. It is important to re-evaluate them regularly and stay flexible to account for changes.