Are you seeking inspiration to get your project moving in the right direction? That’s where the SMART framework comes in. Every project manager can benefit from developing SMART goals.
Whether you want to boost communication among team members or complete a task ahead of schedule, creating SMART goals helps you stay on track. You’ll have a higher chance of succeeding in your career.
Let’s start by examining what SMART goals are and how they can usher more success into your life. Afterward, we’ll explore 10 examples of SMART goals to use as a blueprint for success.
What is a SMART Goal?
A SMART goal is a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goal. SMART goals are often used in project management to keep projects on track and ensure they are achievable.
This idea was first brought to light in 1981 as a way for businesses to set goals that would help them stay afloat amidst changing business trends and staff turnover.
Nowadays, SMART goals are utilized by individuals to maintain clarity of what we want to accomplish and manifest growth.
Your goals need to be clear. It does you no good saying something vague like, “I want to improve workflow.” It’d be best to have a plan that goes into the specifics. A better goal would look like this: “I will write an agenda each week and complete at least 5 of the tasks on it.”
Specify a unit of measurement (e.g. amount, time, etc.) to make tracking your progress toward the goal more manageable. Using the last example, completing 5 tasks is the measurement.
You are more apt to stick with a plan if your goals seem achievable. After all, you might be tempted to quit if you’re constantly falling short. But remember not to set the bar so low that it becomes unchallenging. You must step out of your comfort zone for this process to actually work.
Your goals should align with your overall values and what you want in life. For example, playing golf would be irrelevant if one of your goals is to improve your time management skills.
Instead, focus on developing relevant goals that embody everything that’s important to you—from having healthy habits to milestones you want to attain for your professional career.
A looming deadline encourages you to be more detailed in your goal planning and prioritization.
For example, “completing 5 assignments by next week” is much more motivating than simply saying, “completing your work.” This way of thinking requires daily action to reach the finish line on time.
10 SMART Goals Examples for Project Managers
Here are several key examples of SMART goals to increase your success as a project manager:
1. Develop New Talents for the Team
SMART Goal: I want to develop two new team members so they can take on more responsibility for the next 6 months. I will provide them with additional training and opportunities to lead projects.
- Specific: This goal statement specifies that you want to develop two new team members and outlines how to do it.
- Measurable: You can measure your progress by observing the team members’ increased ability to take on more responsibility.
- Attainable: This is attainable because you provide training and opportunities for the team members to grow.
- Relevant: The SMART goal is relevant to your team’s development.
- Time-based: Goal completion is expected within 6 months.
2. Improve Time Management Skills
SMART Goal: I want to improve my time management skills. I will do this by keeping a time log for one week and then analyzing it to see where I can save time. I’ll also create a daily schedule and stick to it as much as possible.
- Specific: There are actionable steps to improve their time management skills, such as keeping a time log and creating a daily schedule.
- Measurable: Keep a time log for one week and then analyze it to see where you can save time.
- Attainable: This goal is realistic and achievable with some effort.
- Relevant: If you want to improve your time management skills, this is a reasonable goal.
- Time-based: You should complete this goal within one week.
3. Pursue Industry Certification
SMART Goal: I’ll take the necessary steps to earn my PMP certification within 8 months. I will study for two hours every weeknight and four hours on Saturdays. I will take the exam within two months of feeling confident with the material.
- Specific: You know exactly what to do to earn your PMP certification.
- Measurable: You will study for a set number of hours each week.
- Attainable: This is achievable and realistic because you have a study plan in place.
- Relevant: This goal is related to your career as a project manager.
- Time-based: Goal attainment is expected within 8 months.
4. Boost Customer Satisfaction Ratings
SMART Goal: We hope to increase customer satisfaction ratings by 5% within the following four months. We will do this by surveying 500 customers every month and taking action on their feedback.
- Specific: This SMART goal explains how you will increase customer satisfaction ratings by surveying a certain number of customers per month.
- Measurable: Progress is tracked by the percentage increase in customer satisfaction ratings.
- Attainable: A 5% increase in customer satisfaction ratings is possible with consistent surveying and taking action on feedback.
- Relevant: This is pertinent to ensuring customers are happy with your product or service.
- Time-based: There is a four-month timeline for meeting this specific goal.
5. Get a Promotion
SMART Goal: I will work on my professional development by reading one industry-related book each month and attending one relevant conference within the next year. I’ll also update my resume and LinkedIn profile.
- Specific: This goal is clear regarding the steps you need to take to get a promotion.
- Measurable: Make sure you read one book each month and attend one conference within 12 months.
- Attainable: This goal is feasible because it does not require significant changes to your current routine.
- Relevant: As a project manager, this is relevant to your career development.
- Time-based: You have a year to complete the steps outlined in this goal statement.
6. Plan Team-Building Activities
SMART Goal: I want to plan at least two team-building activities per month for the next 6 months. These activities will help to improve communication and collaboration within our team.
- Specific: This goal outlines what you need to do (plan team-building activities) and how often you need to do it (at least two per month).
- Measurable: You can measure your progress by checking the number of team-building activities you’ve planned.
- Attainable: Planning two team-building activities per month is realistic.
- Relevant: The goal is pertinent to the team’s overall development and progress.
- Time-based: There is a 6-month deadline to reach this goal.
7. Increase Sales
SMART Goal: I want to increase our sales figures by 10% in the next quarter. I’ll work with the marketing team to create a promotional campaign that targets our key demographics. I will also review our sales process to identify any areas of improvement.
- Specific: The SMART statement is focused on a 10% increase in sales.
- Measurable: You have the option of reviewing sales figures regularly.
- Attainable: A 10% increase in sales is a realistic goal.
- Relevant: Increasing sales is necessary for growing a business.
- Time-based: The goal should be completed within one quarter.
8. Improve Employee Retention
SMART Goal: I’ll aim to reduce the number of employees who quit within the first 5 months of being hired. I will implement a new onboarding program that includes a buddy system and regular check-ins with supervisors.
- Specific: The statement focuses on a particular outcome—reducing the number of employees who quit.
- Measurable: You can measure the number of employees who quit within the first 5 months.
- Attainable: Implementing a new onboarding program is a realistic way to reduce turnover.
- Relevant: This goal is relevant to your company’s overall mission and bottom line.
- Time-based: Set a deadline of 5 months to see the impact of the new onboarding program.
9. Receive New Clients
SMART Goal: By the end of the month, I want to reach out to 10 new potential clients through cold-calling and networking. I will track my progress and update my supervisor weekly.
- Specific: The individual has a clear plan to reach out to new prospective clients.
- Measurable: The person will track progress to ensure they are making contact with at least 10 new clients.
- Attainable: This is achievable if the individual concentrates on networking and cold-call potential clients.
- Relevant: This goal is appropriate for project managers who want to generate new leads for their company.
- Time-based: The statement should be completed by the end of the month.
10. Delegate More Effectively
SMART Goal: To delegate more effectively, I will take the time to plan each task thoroughly for the next three months. I want to create a system for tracking tasks and assigning them to the appropriate team member.
- Specific: Delegating more effectively is a clear, concise goal.
- Measurable: You could determine your success by tracking the number of tasks you delegate and the number of assignments completed on time and within budget.
- Attainable: This goal is definitely possible with proper planning and execution.
- Relevant: Delegating more effectively will lead to improved project management and greater efficiency within the team.
- Time-based: This SMART goal should be tracked over the three months ahead.
At first, it can take a lot of work to learn how to set SMART goals. But after you start using its principles for your projects, you’ll see that everything becomes more organized.
Having SMART goals gives you guidelines to follow to be more strategic in your resource spending and project creation.
These also let you adapt as needed throughout the project without any discomfort. In other words, SMART goals make you more likely to succeed in your projects, boosting efficiency overall.
This post may feature products and services that we think you’ll find useful. Please read our disclosure for more information.