Writing SMART Goals


Creating goals for yourself as part of your annual reviews or otherwise needs to be done in a structured manner. It requires identifying the right metric, setting a value that is appropriate and in a format that can be objectively evaluated.

The process can be quite intuitive once you follow the right process for setting them.

Introducing SMART Goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

  • Specific: What will be accomplished? What actions will be taken to achieve it?
    • Consider who needs to be involved to achieve the goal
    • Is the location relevant to accomplish this goal? Be specific.
  • Measurable: How will you measure this goal? Which metric will be used for it?
    • This is a direct indicator of your success for the goal
    • The data that needs to be collected needs to be measurable!
    • It should be quantifiable, either qualitatively or quantitatively.
  • Achievable: Is this goal realistically doable? Do you have the right resources available to you to accomplish it?
    • The goal should be achievable even if it is a stretched goal.
    • The goal should never be designed to discourage or demotivate you.
  • Relevant: How does this goal align with the broader objectives (of the organization)? Why is it important?
    • Does this match our other needs?
    • Am I the right person to accomplish this goal?
  • Time-Bound: By when will you accomplish it? Never have it open ended.
    • What can I accomplish today?
    • What can I complete in a month?
    • What can I complete in 6 months?

Templates for SMART Goals

There are numerous templates available for defining SMART Goals. A simple Google search for “templates for SMART Goals” will provide you with plenty of options to choose from.

SMART Goals Examples

  • If you provide trainings, you could have a goal like “Run 5 webinars this year with at least 15 attendees and an overall satisfaction score of at least 75%”
  • If you’re an SRE, you could have a goal like “Maintain an uptime of at least 99% for our cloud platform this quarter.”
  • If you are an automation engineer, you could define a goal like “Increase unit test coverage of at least 5 critical workflows to at least 80% by the end of the year”

Importance of SMART Goals

Many a times, organizations set themselves up for failure by defining unrealistic goals. This does not help provide the right direction to the individual or the organization.

SMART Goals if used correctly can help define realistic and achievable goals which will help push individuals and the organization in the right direction. After all, isn’t that the ultimate purpose of setting a goal!

Which framework do you use for defining goals in your organization? Is it SMART? Share in the comments below.

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About the Author: Anuj Seth

Anuj is a certified PMP with over 20 years of Software Development and Management experience. He founded PM Tips in 2020. Contributors are welcome. Drop him a note via the Contact page.

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