SMART is a very good way to define success for management objectives achieved through projects.
The version we prefer at INRY:
- Specific: Target a particular outcome, a specific problem to solve, a specific business purpose, avoiding overly broad approaches. (also known as "avoid boiling the ocean")
- Measurable: Quantifiable outcomes are the ideal goal. A effective alternative to use concrete metrics to guide progress and define completion. Many leaders embark on projects with intrinsic outcomes in mind such as automating a specific function, or building a capability to achieve a larger objective. In most new initiatives, there may not be an effective baseline to measure improvement in outcomes.
- Achievable: Ensure projects can be implemented with available resources, including time, funds, personnel, support, and other known constraints.
- Realistic: Acknowledge external limitations such as organizational preparedness and conflicting priorities.
- Time-Bound: Assigning a clear timeframe not only creates urgency but ensures the outcome is both actionable and timely. It's an acknowledgment that, left unchecked, "work tends to expand to fill the time available."
In essence, merge objectives with an action plan, emphasizing end results and practical application.