Team goals can keep everyone focused on the right things. But they’re only valuable if people understand the who, what, why, how, and when of each goal. The SMART goal setting framework clarifies all of these things. It can help you and your team ensure you’re setting good goals.
About SMART Goals
The SMART framework was originally introduced by George Doran in 1981 in an issue of the publication, Management Review. Doran’s framework has been used by many top companies to foster alignment and keep people focused on the right work. Essentially, the phrase “SMART” refers to a set of criteria that helps a team create good goals. The letters in this acronym are as follows:
- Specific: what’s the focus area for this goal? What’s the result you hope to accomplish? Does it apply to a specific customer segment or a specific product feature?
- Measurable: what metric can you look at to determine if you’ve succeeded or failed? Is there a certain number you want to hit?
- Assignable: who is running point on this goal? Who can people go to if they have questions or concerns?
- Realistic: is this a goal that can be attained with the people and resources you have? Have you set a goal that’s realistic but also prompts people to push themselves?
- Time-related: when will the work be completed or the goal be achieved?
How to Use This Framework
Use this template to ensure that your goals meet the SMART criteria. If it’s the first time your team is using this framework, explain how it will help everyone gain clarity about their goals, so that the entire team can achieve more. Fill out the template and share it with your team. Ideally, allow people to access it in a central place like Tettra, so that people can read, think, and pose questions.
After setting your SMART goals, revisit them on a regular basis. By checking in on your goals monthly, if not weekly, you’ll help people keep these goals top of mind. Revisiting them together also allows you to identify and avoid problems or bottlenecks along the way. After completing a SMART goal cycle, spend time discussing if and how the SMART framework helped people stay on track. Consider asking other team members to establish their own set of SMART goals in the future and share them in a central wiki like Tettra.