What Is the SMART Goal and Project Management System?

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SMART is an acronym used as a mnemonic to make sure goals or objectives are actionable and achievable. Project managers use the criteria spelled out in SMART to evaluate goals, but SMART can also be used by individuals for personal development or personal productivity.

What Does SMART Mean?

There are many variations to the SMART definition; the letters can alternately signify:

  • S - specific, significant, simple
  • M - measurable, meaningful, manageable
  • A - achievable, actionable, appropriate, aligned
  • R - relevant, rewarding, realistic, results-oriented
  • T - timely, tangible, trackable

Alternate Spellings: S.M.A.R.T.

Examples: A general goal may be to "make more money" but a SMART goal would define the who, what, where, when, and why of the objective: e.g., "Make $500 more a month by freelancing writing for online blogs 3 hours a week."