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SMART Criteria

Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time Related

SMART is a management acronym giving criteria to guide in the setting of objectives in project management, employee-performance management and personal development. SMART criteria are commonly attributed to Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept.

The principal advantage of SMART objectives is that they are easier to understand and to know when they have been done.

SMART objectives are:

  • Specific – Target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – Quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – Specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – Specify when the result(s) can be achieved. A deadline helps a team to focus their efforts on completion.

The specific criterion stresses the need for a specific goal rather than a more general one. A specific goal will usually answer the five ‘W’ questions:

  • What – What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why – Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
  • Who – Who is involved?
  • Where – Identify a location.
  • Which – Identify requirements and constraints.

The SMART method is one of the most popular and successful methods for creating realistic goals and achieving them. The benefit of setting smart goals is they improve your chances of success.