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Are Your Objectives S.M.A.R.T.? (COR1-J05)


This job aid serves as a checklist to help determine the "SMART-ness" of your work objectives by listing criteria to make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

Published: May 26, 2016
Type: Job aid

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Are Your Objectives S.M.A.R.T.?

Determining the "SMART-ness" of your work objectives:

Specific: a clear statement of what is expected

  • Does the objective include an observable action or achievement?
  • Does the objective explain the context and why it is important?
  • Does the objective state what is required, what work must be done and the expected result?

Measurable: in terms of quality, quantity, cost and time

  • Does the objective detail what constitutes a successful outcome?
  • Does the objective state how success will be measured?

Attainable: must be achievable, realistic, and challenging

  • Is the objective realistic given existing capacities, aspirations, and workload?
  • Is the skillset required to complete the task available?
  • Are there any known obstacles or constraints that could hinder accomplishing the objective?

Relevant: must relate to roles within the workplace

  • Does the objective relate to a requirement of the work as outlined in the job description?
  • Does the objective align with the departmental goals? Branch goals? Team goals?

Time-bound: must be a time limit on the expected result

  • Does the objective set a deadline for the final outcome?
  • Does the objective identify intermediate control points if required?
  • Can progress be monitored at different milestones?
  • Is the time frame appropriate for accomplishing the objective?

If you answered "NO" to any of the above questions, you may need to rethink your own or your team's work objectives. The best and easiest way to check mutual understanding of the expectations is to ask questions such as, "What will we do to ensure X?" or "What important dates should we consider?" Open discussion among employees and managers and regular follow up, orally or in writing, are critical to ensuring mutual agreement and understanding of the expectations.

Additional resources

SMART objectives and performance indicators (TBS) (GCintranet)

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