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Transcript of SMART Goals
Use the 6 "W" questions to set a specific goal rather than a general one:
is involved in completing the goal?
exactly do I need to accomplish?
will the work take place?
will the goal be completed?
resources do I need?
is the task important?
For example rather than:
Improve Workspace documentation.
The task should read:
Holli will spend 3 days this week reviewing the language in the help file and user guides for Workspace to better reflect the documentation style guide and keep continuity between our products
You should create a method for measuring your progress towards the goal. Seeing the progress visually makes the goal appear much more attainable. Make sure you include:
A simple way to log and view progress.
Indicators of progress that are quantifiable.
A clear way to see when the goal is accomplished.
In our case that system is already in place: the task database. However we can perhaps make better use of the "percentage complete" function by splitting larger tasks into 4 clear parts. Or perhaps in the case of large edits to the help files, we should include a "total pages to be worked" count in the task and increment the percentage complete in line with that.
Review the goal you set to see if it is attainable in the time you have allotted. Setting a goal that you cannot accomplish is pointless and bad for morale. You should review:
If the time set for completion is reasonable considering all other tasks you currently have.
If you have the required skills and information to accomplish the task.
We can use the task database to see what other tasks we have running concurrently to see if the time set is reasonable.
In our case the skills most likely to halt a task is technical knowledge or information coming from the developers. To combat this it might be beneficial to create a list of necessary information and skills prior to starting the task.
Decide if the goal is relevant to your work and the company as a whole. A relevant task is more likely to be a higher priority to anyone you ask for assistance. You need to decide:
If this is the right time for the task.
If you are the right person to undertake the task.
If the task is useful considering the other work underway at the moment in your own department as well as others.
In our case, for a task to be relevant, we need to be aware of what projects are being currently being undertaken by development. That way our tasks are inline with current work and can be completed in time for release.
Set a realistic time frame for completing a task because:
Too short a window, makes it likely you will fail to complete the task and lose motivation.
Too long a window make it hard to gain momentum.
A commitment to a due-date can focus the teams efforts.
In the task database, we haven't really been using "Date Due" but instead using "Priority Date" to set very loose dates for review. Perhaps it would be more beneficial to use "Date Due" as the date we choose to complete the goal by and use "Priority Date" to store the next estimated release date for that product.
Writing a SMART Task Description
Use the following questions to create a SMART goal for your task description:
A New Approach to the Task Database
Steps we can take to implement SMART goal setting in our task database:
Improve our writing of task descriptions by answering as many of the 6 "W" questions as possible.
Make a commitment to complete the task by the due date and only give extensions when absolutely necessary.
Keep abreast of development deadlines and prioritize tasks by them.
Use the "date due" function to set a completion date on active tasks, and the "Priority date" to show the next estimated release date for that product. Used this way we can more accurately track how many tasks we have on the go at once and use that information to more accurately judge how long a task will take to complete.
Include a quantifiable component in the task so we can use the "percentage complete" function to more accurately track progress.
What We Need to Implement this New Approach
Firstly we need to go through the database and update existing task descriptions to turn them into SMART goals and edit the due date and percentage complete to reflect the new approach.
Consider using a visual way of tracking goals like a Gantt chart (Set up in a communal Excel sheet or use an online resource like Tom's Planner).
It may help us to keep track of goals on a daily basis.
A commitment from the development teams to keep us informed of estimated release dates and upcoming projects so we can use this information to inform our due dates.
Can you set a timely date for completion?
Is the goal relevant to your current work?
Is the goal attainable?
How will you measure your progress?
What are you doing, how will you accomplish it, and why is it important?
Using SMART Goals for Personal Development
In addition to using SMART goals to more efficiently use our task database, we can also use them to track staff development:
Update the percentage of task complete after every development session.
Write one or more SMART goals outlining the tasks to be achieved.
Set aside time to work on the development goal.
Agree upon a personal development plan for each staff member.
"To improve the consistency language in the Workspace help file, Holli will review and edit 40 pages by the end of the month using the HotDocs Style Guide. Percentage complete to be incremented every 10 pages. The completion of this task is to coincide with the release of Workspace 11.2."
"To improve her understanding of HotDocs API, Holli is to use her development time over the next four weeks to complete chapter 2 in "Learning C#". She will check off completed sections every week and at the end of that time she will demonstrate the program created."