by Jurie Smith

SMART Projects in the New Year

PM Pointers

SMART Projects in the New Year
SMART Projects in the New Year

It is that time of the year once again when many of us are making New Year’s resolutions. These determinations could involve the desire to change simple things such as dietary habits, or more complicated life-altering decisions such as getting married or having children. For corporates, it may involve taking strategic action to ensure the organisation survives, adapts and is more competitive in the ensuing year.

More often than not, however, these resolutions tend to fall through the cracks as the year advances. This may be as a result of a lack of mechanisms to monitor these intentions and ensure they are accomplished down the line.

Generally, goals can be assessed using the acronyms SMART or SMARTERS. The goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely, Evaluated, Re-evaluated and Satisfactory.

All things in life are projects – including life itself. It is therefore appropriate to remind ourselves of the values to which we need to adhere when setting our project goals this year.


The objective has to be made quite clear, precise, unambiguous and with as much relevant information as possible. There has to be a definition of what needs to be accomplished, the purpose of the undertaking, and how it will benefit the organisation or the individual. The person or people involved in the project have to be specified as well, with regards to the kind of skill set they need to possess in order to fit in to the plan. The location where the work is to be done has to be identified for greater clarity. Moreover, all the requirements of the projects should be recorded in great detail.


The progress of the project has to be quantifiable, calculable or gaugeable. This will enable the project manager to put in time frames for the completion of each task or stage and, ultimately, the entire project. Pegging the movement made, empowers the project team to stay within time constraints and reach the targeted dates. This stimulates them to put in renewed effort to complete the whole project eventually.


The goal of the project has to be achievable and within reason. This means the target must not be beyond the capacity of the resources such as skills, people, finances and time. Often, a goal may stretch the team, however, it must not be extreme.


This value considers how pertinent the goal is in thrusting the business toward its greater organisational plans and profitability. The goal has to line up with other organisational objectives and work uniformly in attaining the return on investment.


This element considers the non-renewable resource of time. This component involves setting a time frame within which specific tasks and objectives are to be achieved. Having a deadline ensures that focus is present and that any other issues arising do not derail the progressive chugging of the project’s train. This entails allocating adequate time for the project to be implemented efficiently.


The project must be one that can be evaluated. The project manager has to be able to assess the processes involved, the efficiency and the results of the undertaking. The project manager will have to look at the capacity and capability of resources, how efficient the systems in use are, and how well the results are being attained.


This enables the project manager to assess what worked and what did not work, in order to repeat the victories.


After the project is completed, it is pertinent to gauge the level of satisfaction with the project outcomes. This can be done by conducting one-on-one interviews if the project was small, or creating questionnaires to be sent to the stakeholders. Communication channels must be left open to receive further feedback. This is a valuable tool in learning the good things in terms of what worked, and the bad things such as the hindrances that were encountered.

As we face the year ahead, we need to bear in mind that great ideas can only become reality by formalising them and thereafter constantly monitoring their progress. That is SMART.

Article courtesy of the PM Academy –


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Issue 29


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