SMART Goals (Really SMART Objectives)

Consulting Tools and Frameworks

You hear the term “SMART Goals” as a reminder of how to create clear, well-defined, and easy to communicate. (If you want to read why these are really SMART Objectives, click here.)

SMART stands for,


  • Why? (purpose)
  • What? (needs to be done)
  • Who? (is going to do it)
  • Where? (location and resources)


  • Recordable size, amount, or degree at specific points in the process
  • Measurable at sub-tasks and major milestones
  • Measurable gap between start and end point

Attainable or Achievable

  • What are resource limits or constraints?
    • What is our plan to go over or through limits/constraints?
  • Is it achievable?
    • Are we challenged, but capable?
    • Do subject matter experts (SMEs) or mentors think our plans and actions will succeed?
    • Are there previous cases we can learn from?
    • Are there SMEs we can brainstorm with?


  • Is it worthwhile?
  • What is organizational/team impact?
    • How will it impact others and my relationship with them?
    • Does it assist my manager’s goals?
    • Are there potential team conflicts or synergies?
  • Will it delay more important goals?
    • Are there resources and people?
    • Do we have time to do it?
  • Is there interest and commitment?


  • Specific start?
  • Specific end?
  • Incremental segments?
  • Interruptible?