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HowtosetSMARTObjectives

RobPurdie,CSM June24,2008

Introduction
AcoupleofmonthsagoImentionedI'dstartedworkingwithConcernWorldwideona prettymassiveDrupal/CiviCRMprojectandwasexcitedabouttheworkwe'ddonein definingourobjectives.We'renowjustoneweekawayfromcompletingourfirst developmentsprint,andalthoughI'mprettymuchallaboutthatatthispoint,Istillwant towriteabouttheobjectiveswe'vesetfortheproject(andespeciallytodaylongstory butIhadtobowoutofmyfacultypositionatSocialTechTraininginTorontothisweek whereIwasmeanttoleadasessiononsettingobjectives...ChristopherRoyhaskindly agreedtodeliverthesessiononmybehalfandIguesswritingthisnowispartlyan attempttobethereinspirit).

1. Understandorganisationaland/or programgoals 2. DefineSMARTobjectives 3. TestSMARTobjectives


Thethreestepsthisarticleproposesyoutakewhensetting SMARTprojectobjectives.

Notwithstandingthefactthatmanyproject teamsveryoftenforgetorintentionallyskip settingobjectives,takingthetimetosetthemis importantforanumberofreasons: Objectiveshelpprojectteamsfocus Objectivesgetpeople"onthesame page" Objectiveshelpdefine"whatdonelooks like" Objectivesallowustoevaluateproject outcomes

Collectivefocusonprojectoutcomesisprettycriticaltoprojectsuccess,andsetting objectivesallowsustoachievecollectivefocus,sowesetthem.Thatis,weshouldset themalotofteamsdon'tsetobjectivesbecausetheyfindithard,orbecausethey

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HowtosetSMARTobjectives

don'tknowhow,orbecausethey'dratherjust"getonwithit"(anddealwiththe consequenceslaterbad). Tomakesettingobjectivesonyourprojectseasier,I'vedoneabitofresearchand puttogetherthefollowingstepbystepinstructions.Enjoy!

1.Understandorganisationaland/orprogramgoals
Backin2006,Idon'tthinkIreallyunderstoodthedifferencebetweenobjectivesand goals.Thisispretty(embarrassingly)clearifyougobackandlookatthe"objectives"set fortheDrupalmigrationprojectIworkedonwithGreenpeaceUKthatyear.Those weren'tobjectives;thoseweregoals.Goalsandobjectivesaredifferent1: Objectivesmapontogoals.Andoncemet,objectivescontributetotheachievementof goals.Sobeforeyousetprojectobjectives,youshouldreallyunderstandtheoverarching goalsoftheorganisationundertakingtheproject,orthegoalsoftheprogramofwhich theprojectisapart.Right? TheprojectI'mworkingonrightnowwithConcernispartofits"NextGenerationWeb" (NGW)program(i.e.itisoneofmanyprojectstobeundertakenbyConcernaspartofthe NGWprogram),whichhasthefollowinggoals: 1. 2. Tocontributetotheachievementofthesegoalsbyacertaindateandforacertain amountofmoney,we'vesetsomenarrow,specific,shorttermandmeasurableobjectives forourproject:) TocreateaworldclassNGOwebpresence;and TocontinuouslymeetorexceedtheneedsofConcernsupporters. Goalsarebroad;objectivesarenarrow Goalsaregeneral;objectivesarespecific Goalsarelongterm;objectivesareshortterm Goalscannotbemeasured;objectivesaremeasurable

2.DefineSMARTobjectives
Narrow,specific,shorttermandmeasurableobjectivesaregood,butSMART2 objectivesareevenbetter.SMARTobjectivesareobjectivesthatare: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Specifictheydescribeaspecificoutcome Measurabletheyarelinkedtoarate,number,percentageorfrequency Achievablewithareasonableamountofeffort,theycanactuallybeachieved Relevantthepeopleinvolvedhavethenecessaryknowledge,authorityand skill Timebasedtheyincludeclearlydefinedfinishand/orstartdates

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WithConcernwe'veusedthefollowingformatfordefiningourSMARTprojectobjectives, whichIthinkhasworkedwellandwhichIrecommendusing: By[INSERTDATE],[INSERTWHO]willhave[INSERTWHAT]resultingin [INSERTRESULTS]by[INSERTDATE]. Withouttheactualvaluesinsertedtheabovedoesn'tseemtohavealotof,well,value,I realiseherearethethreeSMARTobjectiveswesetforourproject(I'veremovedthe measurementsbecausethey'reforinternaluseonlyatthispoint,butyou'llgetthe picture): 1. BytheendofAugust2008,Concern'smainsite(http://concern.net)willhave beenredesigned,rebuilt,usertested,integratedwithnewand/orexistinge communications,CRMandbackendsystemsandrelaunchedtothepublic, resultinginX.XmillionuniquewebsitevisitsbyDecember2009 2. BytheendofNovember2008,4Concerncampaignsiteswillhavebeenre designed,rebuilt,usertested,integratedwithnewand/orexistingbackend systemsandrelaunchedtothepublic,generatingonlinecampaigndonationsof X.XmillionbyFebruary2009 3. BytheendofNovember2008,Concernwillhavedesigned,built,usertested, integratedwithnewand/orexistingbackendsystemsandlauncheduser accountmanagementandpersonalisationserviceswithinConcern'smainsite, which,byDecember2009,willresultinaXX%increaseinenewsletterandRSS subscriptions,visitorsstayingXX%longeronthesitesandXXXmorepersonal fundraisingpagesbeingcreated Ittookusabitoftimetofiguretheseout,abitofdiscipline,butwegotthroughit,and oncedone,wewereabletovalidateourworkbytestingforSMARTness:)

3.TestSMARTobjectives
Onceyou'vewrittenyourSMARTprojectobjectives,it'sgoodtotestthemasateam, orevenbetter,withstakeholdersontheprojectbutexternaltothecoreteam(i.e.those whomayinfluenceoutcomesbutwhoarenotpartofthedaytoday).Gettheminaroom oronthephonewithyouandtesteachobjectiveonebyone.Likeso3: Iseachobjectivespecific?Askthesequestions: o o o o o Whatexactlyarewegoingtodo,withandforwhom? Isitclearwhoisinvolved? Istheintendedoutcomeclear? Howwillweknowtheintendedchangehasoccurred? Canthesemeasurementsbeobtained?

Iseachobjectivemeasurable?Askthesequestions:

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HowtosetSMARTobjectives

Iseachobjectiveachievable?Askthesequestions: o o o Canwegetitdoneintheproposedtimeframe? Canwedothiswiththeresourceswehave? Isthisevenpossible? Canthepeoplewithwhomtheobjectivehasbeensetmakeanimpacton thesituation? o Dotheyhavethenecessaryknowledge,authorityandskill? Whenwillthisobjectivebeaccomplished?

Iseachobjectiverelevant?Askthesequestions: o

Iseachobjectivetimebased?Askthisquestion: o

Conclusion
Oneofthehugebenefitstogoingthroughaprocesslikethisisdeterminingwhether theobjectivesyou'vesetforyourprojectarerelevantinmyexperiencewhenteams dosetobjectivestheyoftensetthemforpeopleotherthanthemselves,objectivesthey don'tactuallyhavetheabilitytoachieve(e.g.objectiveshavingtodowithorganisational changesthey'dliketoseehappenbutcan'treallyinfluence).Thatandmeasurability. You'vegottosetmeasurableobjectives.Eventhoughyoucouldbelonggonebeforethe outcomesofyourprojectbecomemeasurable.SMARTobjectivesaremeasurableif nothingelse:) Endnotes:
1Goalvs.ObjectiveDifferenceandComparison(n.d.).RetrievedJune24,2008,from

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Goal_vs_Objective.
2SMART(projectmanagement)(n.d.).RetrievedJune24,2008,from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_(project_management).
3SettingSMARTObjectives(n.d.).RetrievedJune24,2008,from

http://www.thepracticeofleadership.net/2006/03/11/settingsmartobjectives/.
RobPurdieistheDirectorofImportantProjects,avaluesbasedprojectmanagementconsultingand trainingpracticefocusedonhelpingsocialchangeorganisationsachievetheirstrategicgoalsthroughthe effectiveandsuccessfulmanagementoftheirmostimportantprograms,projectsandongoingoperations. Formoreinformation,goto:http://importantprojects.co.uk

2008Important Projects