Turning to any modern field of activity, whether it be the construction industry, education or information technology, one can encounter project activities. Project activity allows you to correctly formulate a task, choose a goal and place emphasis on important aspects, directing the overall course of work in the right direction. Goal setting is an important step in project activity. One of the popular and effective goal-setting methods is the SMART technology (SMART).
What is SMART goal setting?
This goal-setting technology appeared quite a long time ago and has already proven itself from the best side. Thanks to this method, it is possible to clearly formulate the task, summarize the available information, choose the timing and amount of resources. Any self-respecting manager must have the skills to set SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
- Specific - Specific.
- Realistic - Pragmatic (Real).
- Timed - Timed.
Let's analyze eachcomponent in more detail.
Specific - the task must be specific
In order to increase the likelihood of successful implementation of a project, it is necessary to set a specific goal. In fact, you need to decide at the initial stage what the result will be. A number of questions hidden behind the acronym 5W help in concretizing the future goal:
- What? (What?) - What do I need, what is my goal, what do I want to achieve?
- Why? (Why?) – Why do I or my team/company need this?
- Who? (Who?) – Who will work on this task?
- Where? (Where?) – Where should this task be done?
- Which? (Which?) – What are the requirements and constraints you will face?
It is important to understand: if the goal is one, then the result follows it. Any changes in the results plan should lead to changes in the number of goals.
Measurable - the task must be measurable
Setting SMART goals and objectives requires a clear understanding of what constitutes the successful completion of this task. The measurement of success can be expressed in terms of a certain amount of monetary gain or an increase in web traffic, audience numbers, and so on.
To better define a measurable goal, ask yourself the following questions:
- At what point will the goal be considered solved?
- Which of the selected indicators (the amount of revenue, the number of visits to the web resource)greater impact on success and indicates that the task is completed?
- What should be the value of this indicator for the project or task to be considered successfully completed?
Achevable - the task must be achievable
SMART goal setting means setting a realistic goal that your team or company can achieve. This is an extremely important element of the SMART system, as it has a huge impact on the motivation of the performer. Unattainable goals are almost never completed. In order not to dream once again, but to adhere to reality, one should rely on work experience, the availability of certain resources. It is also necessary to keep in mind the existing restrictions.
Restrictions can be:
- Temporary resource.
- Availability of investments.
- Number of employees/performers.
- Existing knowledge and experience (human capital).
- Access to necessary information.
- The ability of the leader to fully control the work process.
Realistic - the task must have value
Setting goals according to SMART is distinguished by its adequacy, it is important not only to prescribe the workflow, but also to implement exactly those goals that will be significant for the company. You need to choose goals that will be useful in the long run and allow the team / company to develop.
To put it simply, if the goal being implemented does not bring any benefit, then it is not a SMART goal, and work on it is wasted.
It is important to note that not only the pragmatic component is important, but also the compatibility of the goal with the realities of the company, the principles of the performers, and the overall development strategy.
Timed - the task must have a time frame
The SMART task setting system imposes a number of restrictions on the performer, including a limited time resource. When forming such a task, it is necessary to set a deadline (deadline), exceeding which automatically makes the goal/project a failure.
Such a restriction has a positive effect on the motivational component, and also facilitates control over the task.
Naturally, the task itself, the calculation of resources, etc., should be formed taking into account time constraints. Simply put, the time required to complete a task should be in line with the deadlines.
Setting SMART goals: an example
Here is one illustrative example.
Let's say an employee of a pipe manufacturing company (let's call her Lena) received a large order from one of the customers, checking the database for the presence of goods, Lena arranges for delivery to the customer. After some time, the client calls Lena and states that the quantity of goods does not correspond to the previously agreed. This happened because another employee had sold pipes to another customer an hour earlier.
Such a curiosity could have been avoided if Lena had worked according to the SMART scheme:
- S - Lena clearly forms the order, finds out what she needscustomer.
- M - Lena specifies the quantity of the required product that the customer should receive.
- A - Lena coordinates the order with the client, as well as with the company's employees. For example, she could call the warehouse and make sure that there will be enough goods by the time the client needs it.
- R – The actions taken would help make sure that the task is feasible and will not create problems for the company.
- T - Based on the information received, it would be possible to give a realistic time frame.
Thus, setting SMART goals would help the employee realize the intended deal without undermining the company's credibility.
SMART goal-setting technology in everyday life
SMART goal setting skills can be useful in everyday life, because the structure of project activities can be applied to any goal.
Let's imagine that someone has a burning desire to learn a foreign language, as this implies a promising job as a translator.
- S - A person clearly formulates his goal: to learn a language. He knows that he will work alone, he knows that this skill will allow him to get a good job. He also knows the challenges of the process and where to start.
- M – How to measure knowledge of a language? The measure in this case may be the presence of a certificate. A similar certificate can be obtained by passing international exams.
- A – Is such a goal achievable? Yes. A person has a lot of free time, access to the Internet, the opportunity to go to courses andfunds for these very courses.
- R - Is there any benefit in doing this task? Yes. You can benefit from a skill such as knowing a foreign language.
- T - In order not to miss classes and not to idle, a person can set a specific time frame, say, a year. This is enough time to get the necessary skills.