Wayne State University

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S.M.A.R.T. Objectives

The establishment of all objectives should be created using the S.M.A.R.T. philosophy.  What do we mean by a S.M.A.R.T. objective?  S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that is used to guide the development of measurable goals. Each objective should be:

Specific
Measurable w/Measurement
Achievable
Relevant
Time-Oriented

Specific

Specific answers the questions "what is to be done?" "how will you know it is done?" and describes the results (end product) of the work to be done. The description is written in such a way that anyone reading the objective will most likely interpret it the same way.  To ensure that an objective is specific is to make sure that the way it is described is observable.  Observable means that somebody can see or hear (physically observe) someone doing something.

Measurable w/Measurement

Measurable w/Measurement answers the question "how will you know it meets expectations?" and defines the objective using assessable terms (quantity, quality, frequency, costs, deadlines, etc.).  It refers to the extent to which something can be evaluated against some standard.  An objective with a quantity measurements uses terms of amount, percentages, etc..  A frequency measurement could be daily, weekly, 1 in 3.  An objective with a quality measurement would describe a requirement in terms of accuracy, format, within university guidelines.

Achievable

Achievable answers the questions "can the person do it?" "Can the measurable objective be achieved by the person?" "Does he/she have the experience, knowledge or capability of fulfilling the expectation?" It also answers the question "Can it be done giving the time frame, opportunity and resources?"   These items should be included in the SMART objective if they will be a factor in the achievement. 

Relevant

Relevant answers the questions, "should it be done?",  "why?" and "what will be the impact?"  Is the objective aligned with the S/C/D’s implementation plan and the university’s strategic plan?

Time-oriented

Time-oriented answers the question, "when will it be done?"  It refers to the fact that an objective has end points and check points built into it.  Sometimes a task may only have an end point or due date. Sometimes that end point or due date is the actual end of the task, or sometimes the end point of one task is the start point of another. Sometimes a task has several milestones or check points to help you or others assess how well something is going before it is finished so that corrections or modifications can be made as needed to make sure the end result meets expectations.  Other times, an employee’s style is such that the due dates or milestones are there to create a sense of urgency that helps them to get something finished.

As you start to write your objectives, completing the worksheet below will be beneficial in helping you build objectives that are S.M.A.R.T.  Also listed below is a sample completed worksheet for your convenience.

S.M.A.R.T. Objective Worksheet

S.M.A.R.T. Objective Worksheet Example

S.M.A.R.T. Objective eLearning Exercise

Click here to go through S..M.A.R.T. Objective eLearning Exercise