Planning the completion of a project , Project management , requires dividing the work to be done into a series of objectives. But how to correctly define these objectives? Professionals have created a method …
This is George T. Doran who defined the concept of SMART objectives (intelligent, in English), in an article published in the November 1981 edition of the American magazine Management Review. The mnemonic acronym SMART aims to establish a list of clear criteria to be met when an objective is stated within the framework of a project.
As engineering is a field essentially made up of projects to be carried out, it is obvious that the SMART objectives apply wonderfully. Many firms are already using this method.
So if you are a manager and have a team of engineers under your care, here is what the acronym SMART stands for, and how each of these letters will help you improve your project management skills:
No room for vague or nebulous goals. An objective must be clearly defined. Thus, it would be easy to rule when an objective is completed and when it is not. For example, instead of writing “make the program”, write “design the test module”. It’s much clearer …
For a goal to be measurable, it must be quantified and qualified. It is, therefore, necessary to determine a value or a level to be reached in order to clearly define which threshold delimits an objective supplemented by an objective that is not.
No need to require one of your engineers to go through all of the project code in a week. You know it won’t be done in such a short time. So when setting goals, make sure they aren’t too big or too quick to complete. By spelling them out in a realistic length, neither too long nor too short, you make sure to keep the team active and motivated.
You can’t expect an engineer who doesn’t know anything about, say, VHDL coding, in a matter of days to master this new language and accomplish tasks that require it. You need to assign the right tasks to the right people and tailor the amount of work you demand from each of your engineers according to their abilities, skills, and experience.
Finally, it is obvious that the tasks that you entrust to your staff must be measurable over time, with a clear due date. Try to define tasks that can be completed fairly quickly (in the range of a few days to a few weeks), so that the work to be done is more easily structured and that a better follow-up is done.
Apply the SMART method and we guarantee you will find that your engineering projects will progress much faster and much more rigorously!