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What are SMART Goals?
In the world of management, SMART is a widely-known acronym that outlines criteria for effective goal-setting. Because this process is an essential part of management, the difference between a regular goal and a SMART one can make or break a project. For teams, this means setting goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
With any goal, clarity is important—it should paint a clear picture of the actions, outcomes, and/or outputs that you intend to deliver. A handy question to ask yourself here is, “What exactly do we want to accomplish?”
For example, instead of aiming to improve social media performance, you might instead frame it as generating 1,000 interactions with a link in your social media posts within a certain period.
Relating to specificity, quantifiable indicators of progress (or metrics) are a great way to add clarity to a goal. These can be basic numerical targets, percentages, factors of time, and currency, among others.
Building on the above example, you might want to target the 1,000 interactions (already a measurable component of your goal) within seven (7) days.
Goals that aren’t bound by realism provide zero room for success. This criterion makes it important for teams to consider established or anticipated constraints. Time is one of the most common limitations of a project, especially today where trends and the demands of the market change more rapidly than before.
Example: In order to reach 1,000 interactions within the week, you might create a total of 21 posts, broken down into one (1) post per day across three social media platforms.
An effective goal outlines your ‘why’—it emphasizes the significance of chasing a given objective, especially to your key stakeholders. It is often recommended to identify this first before building around the rest of the SMART criteria, as it can also inform the specific solutions, metrics, and constraints that should be at play.
In our example, we can say that targeting 1,000 interactions across social media posts may maintain or improve the existing performance of the social media channels in converting consumers. Combining this with the Measurable aspect, you can be even more specific in saying that this results in a 10% increase in social media engagements.
In many ways, a time-bound goal is a measurable one. The added benefit of time in this scenario makes it so that expectations on when a certain result can/should be expected are clear to your stakeholders. A time-bound constraint, along with other data, can also inform the feasibility of your goal, or how achievable it truly is.
In our case, the 7-day period is the time constraint, while also informing the measurable aspects of the goal.
Putting it all together gives us an initial look at what a SMART goal looks like:
“For a 10% increase in social media engagements (Relevant), we will generate 1,000 interactions (Measurable) with our target link (Specific) by creating one (1) post daily on our three (3) social media platforms (Achievable) across seven (7) days. (Time-Bound)”
Now that we have defined exactly what SMART goals are. Let’s talk about some of the reasons why you would want to start implementing SMART goals into your marketing campaign planning.
Benefits of SMART Goals
There are three significant advantages to investing in SMART goal-setting:
1. Stakeholder buy-in
SMART goals illustrate a clear vision and increase ownership between your stakeholders. It aligns responsibilities, sets expectations, and generates the right investment so that your project is equipped to succeed.
2. Data-driven execution
By adding measurable components and factoring in constraints as early as the goal-setting stage, metrics inform your decision-making and reduce much of the guesswork around what makes sense to do next in a given situation. This helps your team stay on track, and it reduces the biases that might steer your project away from its objectives.
3. Cost efficiency
When SMART goals are in place, it makes it easier for your team to distinguish between what’s necessary and unnecessary for the success of your project. Again, metrics, constraints, and effective stakeholder management do much of the heavy lifting, allowing your team to generate the highest value for the least amount of effort.
SMART Goal Examples
Now that we understand the concept and the importance of SMART goals, here are a few SMART goal examples for project managers:
A personal goal
In this example, we’ll explore how one might improve on their health, mainly in terms of nutrition. A SMART goal might look like this:
- Specific: Eat a maximum of 1,800 calories per day.
- Measurable: Calories are tracked daily against the prescription. The weight would then be recorded at the end of every week, which would be used to update the running BMI.
- Achievable: The required calories will be split across three meals in a day.
- Relevant: Reach the prescribed BMI for one’s age.
- Time-Bound: 6 months, for example, to eliminate the risk of crash dieting.
SMART Goal: One would eat three meals a day, amounting to 1,800 calories in total, and track this daily against a weekly BMI update, in the next 6 months to allow for a healthy change in weight towards healthy BMI levels for one’s age.
Improving team performance
Here, we might look to increase the rate at which a team produces assets:
- Specific: Allocate at least 6 members to the production team to work on assets for a project.
- Measurable: A total of 600 assets need to be created.
- Achievable: All team members will be assigned 5 assets to accomplish in a day.
- Relevant: The set volume of work given the resources allows the team to achieve a work-life balance while also meeting the production quota.
- Time-Bound: The project will run for 20 working days.
SMART Goal: Allocate at least 6 team members to work on 5 assets a day, across 20 working days, to deliver a total of 600 assets, achieving a 100% utilization rate without requiring overtime for any employee.
Create SMART Goals for Managing Projects with Workamajig
SMART Goals sets your project up for success from the start. Having a clear vision, roles, and constraints makes it easy to make informed decisions, and eliminate redundancies on the way to achieving your objectives.
With Workamajig, the premier marketing management software, you have an all-in-one solution for managing your tasks, deadlines, and resource allocations, in service of SMART goals, in ways that work for you. Easily adjust your schedule or modify task requirements to ensure timeliness and feasibility, use native reporting tools to measure your progress, and identify and address roadblocks along the way.