S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting: Tips from a Project Manager

Goal. The result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

Goal setting is involved in everything we do. From personal goals to professional goals to dreaded weight loss goals, we are a goal setting culture. We set simple goals, attainable goals and goals that we may never achieve. The truth is many of us don’t know how to set a goal. We don’t know how to set a goal that will lead us down a path to success. We often set goals and are surprised when they are not met. Goals can often be disappointing in the end.

As Boomer Consulting, Inc. continues to work on strategic initiatives for this year, 90-Day Game Plans for this quarter and our busy season takes hold, I have started to read through different articles, blogs and research that can help me be a better project manager in 2019. I have been focusing a lot on goal setting at the beginning of a project and how to create ones that can change the way I view and carry out my projects. From strategic goals in my career and role to everyday project milestones and tasks, this is my focus. Essentially, I explore how to set goals that allow me to become better at my job and ultimately my career. S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting has taught me to develop goals that are tailored for the best possible outcome. Although there are many variations of S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting, the individual letters all stand for the same thing: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Setting goals at the beginning of your project is your lifeline. From short- term to long-term project goals, they will allow you to start on the path to success throughout your entire project. The challenging part of goal setting is often deciding what those goals should be. How will you know you can achieve them? How will you know they will be in line with the outcome of your project? Whether you are a seasoned project manager or the lead of your first project, following S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting rules can ensure your project stays on track and ultimately ends in success.

SPECIFIC Your specific goals should always answer the who, what, when, why and how. They are clear, concise and defined points. They outline exactly what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.

MEASURABLE Choose goals that you can measure. Goals, where you cannot see change (good or bad) or progress, are not measurable.

ATTAINABLE Your goals should be not impossible. Setting attainable goals allows you to know that even if you have to extend yourself or push harder than you ever have to get there, you can and you will.

REALISTIC Focus on the practicality of realistic goals. Set the bar high, but not so high you will never reach it.

TIMELY Give yourself timely goals by making sure each of them has a due date or an endpoint. Goals are never achieved when they involve a never-ending possibility.

Where are your project goals at today? Take your current goals and apply the checklist of S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting to see where you stand. Turn your newly focused goals into outcomes that end defined and complete and above all successful.

Is your firm focusing on the right things?

We can help provide your firm with clarity and understanding so that you can focus on the right objectives at the right time.​ Schedule a discovery call with one of our Solutions Advisors and get on the path to transforming your firm.

As the Director of Project Management for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Erin plans, organizes, secures and manages resources for the firm’s many service and program areas, including providing assistance and constant communication with clients and sponsors and serving as an even liaison. Her primary duties include overseeing and managing the specifics of all Boomer Consulting, Inc. communities.”