If you have scoured the web for self-help tips or guides, you will often find that the common first step on those types of articles is planning. However, it is unfortunate that most authors assume that people can actually make plans that truly work or are even achievable in the first place. And in a business setting, you will often find yourself tasked with this job.
But are you really sure that you are creating plans that are truly effective? Are you making plans that right way? There was actually a proper way to plan?! Well, not really. But there is a more efficient method of making one. And that is planning SMARTly.
The SMART Criteria
The SMART criterion is a guide to help people create achieveable, realistic, practical, and efficient plans. It is a mnemonic that means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Of course, there are other variations. But still… what does it exactly do?
There are five elements that you must consider when creating plans or initiating a project. And all of those five elements are given emphasis when creating SMART action plans.
For example, let’s say that you want to improve a certain aspect in your business it can be an improvement of your IT infrastructure. For you to pull that off without a hitch, you must carefully plan it. And with SMART, you will be able to create that plan fast. Let me discuss about each consideration in SMART.
Specific: Your plan must be specific. In the example, what part of the infrastructure do you want to improve? Will it be your customer database? Your human resource database? Accounting?
Measurable: Your plan must be measurable. Quantifying the elements involved in your plan can make it easy for you to create guestimates on certain aspects that your boss, employee, or client might want to know. How many entries will you improve? How many entries of the database will you import or export?
Attainable: Your plan must be attainable. Usually, it will be the last consideration. All other aspects must be answered first before you can decide if your plan is attainable. Will the database will be improved in <insert amount of time>? Can we fix the entire database?
Realistic: Your plan must be practical and realistic. You might want to improve your business’ IT infrastructure, but do you have the money to do so? Do you have the personnel that can handle and monitor it?
Time-bound: Your plan must be time-bound. There should be a deadline or time checkpoints when certain tasks must be accomplished. Can the database be fixed within a day? Two days? A week? Can the business afford to halt operations to the amount of time needed to perform the upgrades?
That is just the basics of SMART action planning. It is a big help if you truly want to create achievable, efficient, and practical plans in your business — or in other aspects of your life.