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SMART objectives for effective project management

4 minutes

As you probably know, the success of a project is due to good work ethic, great team efforts and efficient project management planning. Keep in mind that it is necessary to plan each task of your projects in a methodical way. If you do so, all of your team members and co-workers will be able focus on their own tasks and ensure a good work continuity. Be SMART.

Always think ahead of time. During your planning, you have to look beyond the expected result and think of all the details that could help or hinder the achievement of the objectives. Identify which team member will intervene at different stages, plan budgets, anticipate setbacks and set a schedule as an integral part of the project. While working on a new project, once the guidelines are established, it is essential to monitor your progress. Indeed, if necessary, the project manager must be able to adjust what was planned.

Remember that, once an organisation has more than one employee, it’s vital that these employees are clear about the objectives of the organisation and know what they are working towards. The key to setting effective objectives is to choose the approach that works best within the culture of your business. Experiment to get the right balance between encouraging creativity and recognising what’s possible. 

Start today! Use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. It’s an easy term to remember and each letter corresponds to a guideline to be followed when setting goals. When planning your project, consider having specific, measurable, achievable and realistic objectives.

S = Specific

A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.  Provide enough detail so that there is no indecision as to what exactly the participant should be doing. To do so, your planning should always answer five questions: who, what, when, where, and why. By answering all of these questions, you will make sure that your planning is standing on solid ground. For example, a general goal would be “I want to get in shape.” A more specific goal would be “I want to obtain a gym membership and work out four days a week to be healthier.” 

You must then identify each and every one that will be involved in the project. You must also think about all the resources that will need to be tapped in order to accomplish the tasks. Whether it’s hardware or budget, make sure you have the right tools. You will also need to schedule a period of time for each task. You need to be specific in order to meet deadlines. Finally, think about the reasons behind each completion step. To be thorough, you need to follow a certain work logic.

M = Measurable

Choose a goal with measurable progress, so the participant can see the change as it occurs. A measurable goal has an outcome that can be assessed either on a sliding scale (1-10), or as a hit or miss, success or failure. If you only know that the job is going well, you will have an overly subjective idea. You need to be able to objectively calculate the progress of the work.

To do so, you can measure each of the steps and tasks accurately and then identify deadlines. In your schedule, always share your expectations with your teammates.

A = Achievable

A SMART goal must be achievable. This will help you figure out ways you can realize that goal and work towards it. An achievable goal has an outcome that is realistic given the participant’s current social, economic, or cultural resources and time available. Keep in mind that a goal achievement may be more of a “stretch” if the outcome is difficult to begin with. 

To make sure that your deadlines are achievable, remember that your planning should correspond to the reality of your team.

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R = Realistic

Start small and gradually increase the intensity of your goals after having a discussion with the participant, parent or caretaker to redefine the goal. You must also ask yourself : are my goals going to benefit the entire organization and align with its morals? Relevant objectives are worthwhile, beneficial and applicable.

Along the same lines, you need to be realistic, you will probably run into problems! Setbacks can arise and delay the completion of certain tasks. When planning your project, it is essential to anticipate problems.

Make sure to plan extra time or even an extra budget for the unexpected, if you can, of course. You will then avoid not meeting your customers expectations.

T = Time bound

Set a timeframe for the goal: for next week, in two months, by eight months. Setting an endpoint will give your team members a clear target to achieve. This portion of the SMART planning process could factor into each part of the “SMART” acronym. Timelines for completion enable you to create positive motivation for keeping improvements on schedule.

Setting up periodic reviews across your timeline is also great for making sure efforts are in line.

This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.

Make sure to use the right tools

Project management must be done with suitable tools. Using a Gantt chart is ideal as it will allow you to follow your entire project in real time. You can link dependent tasks and ensure a timeline that makes sense. Divide the tasks into different stages and to different team members. Add your deadlines, follow your budgets and monitor the work done.

 Keep in mind that good project planning is the basis of its success, but it does not automatically lead to results. Indeed, it is the completion of each step that will allow you to complete your projects. For this reason, you need to set SMART goals. Work methodically, monitor the work that is being done and adjust your management according to the progress of the project.

Nutcache offers tools that will make your work easier and that will allow you to measure every aspect of your project. A project manager who stands out works in a meticulous and orderly manner. Start working SMART now.

2021-02-19T14:39:03+00:00

About the Author:

Marc has been part of the Nutcache team since day one. As the marketing specialist, Marc does his best to develop the Nutcache brand and make it shine by sharing the Nutcache love to all business owners out there. =)