Be Successful With SMART Goals

Linh Tran, Thursday 09 July 2015 | Reading time: unknown

SMARTe Ziele

Photo from Picbasement

Goals should be smart, right? Or to be more precise S-M-A-R-T, which are five criteria that guide you in setting objectives. Find out what the meaning behind this acronym is. 

Project teams always work towards a pre-determined objective in order to complete a project. Without objectives there would be no structure in the work process and as a consequence you could lose your motivation to finish tasks. Thus, objectives contribute a great deal to the success of a project. Which is why it’s important it to set some formal criteria for the definition of objectives and goals so that you can work more effectively. One method how to do this are so called SMART goals.

S for Specific

Define clear and precise goals. Every member of the project team should be able to understand the meaning behind the objectives without requiring an explanation. So, avoid using filler words, such as “rather”, ”preferably”, “ideally”, “soon” etc. These words only relativize issues and create unnecessary uncertainties.

M for Measurable

In order to identify whether you have fulfilled an objective or not, you need criteria to measure it. However, not everything can be quantified. Brand confidence for example is a rather abstract concept. What you can do is to, first, think about the meaning of the term, then, find the right ‘indicator’ to measure it. For brand confidence, most use psychological models to evaluate it. If an objective is very complex, you can split it into several sub-goals and define each of them individually.

A for Attractive

The whole project team has to accept an objective and see it in a favorable light. It helps to formulate goals positively: “You should do X” instead of “You can’t do Y”.  In order to be motivated and work diligently towards achieving the goal, the team has to actually enjoy working on it.

R for Realistic

On the one hand an objective has to be attainable, but on the other it also has to be challenging enough so that the team isn’t bored by it. You have to try and find the right balance between these two factors. You also need to consider if you even have the needed resources to achieve an objective.

T for Time-related

You need to have a clear deadline for when you and your team have to complete the project. This is particularly important in regards to customers, because they usually demand a clear deadline of when you must deliver a product or service.


In some aspects these five criteria overlap, or even compete with one another. Thus, it is important to find a balance between them. An ideal objective should look like this: The goal is to increase the sales of product X by 5% with strategy Y by October 21. And NOT like this: If possible, we want to increase sales in the near future.

With the SMART method, you have a check off list for whether you have formulated your objectives well enough so that you can complete them effectively and thus, created a base for the successful completion of the project.


(text by Klara Obermair, translated by Linh Tran)

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