Connor Business Resources

Using SMART goals for Project Management

The SMART goal framework is strict enough to help form a backbone for any project but also flexible enough to be applied to any Project Management strategy. The Project Management structure can be reflected in the set of SMART goals created for any project member.

SMART goals, which are Specific,Measurable, Achievable (or Agreed-Upon), Relevant, and Time-bound, can help form the guidelines in any project. They can set clear and personalizedparametersfor all individuals involved in the project.

SMART goals are even useful in an Academic setting. The HR department of the University of Virginia references SMART goals in a directive for employees: “The concept ofwriting SMART goals is very important for accomplishing individual goals, which in turn are linked to department, division, and University goals.”  They describe the SMART goals as fundamental to both communications within the University structure and in performance evaluation. To help illustrate the usefulness of SMART goals in Project Management, we can take two Project Management strategies and compare how the goals could be applied.

An online source describes theAgile (flexible) methodas: “using the best process through empowered teams, customer involvement, and the ability to analyze and quickly control changes to the project scope at inception and throughout the lifecycle of the project.” Using SMART goals in this instance would help to define both short-term and long-term expectations for teams and customers while simultaneously allowing for necessary adaptation within the time frame allotted.

SMART goals can also be helpful when using the Waterfall (traditional/rigid) process. A criticism of this method is that there is little review once a project has begun and passed from group to group and finally to the client.  Brighthub describes: “you’ll be assigning teams with clearly set goals and timelines. Each team handles different aspects or modules of the project…Once a module is deemed usable, it is passed to the next team phase.” If the goals set at the project’s outset are SMART and agreed upon by all groups, there will be less room for error throughout the process.

Regardless of the Project Management style chosen, SMART goals can be made to help you and fit your requirements. Using SMART goals within your strategic planning will help bring out the best in your Project Management style.


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