The acronym is credited to George T. Doran in a published article in AMA Forum called “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives“
He describes the original list as follows:
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
- Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
- Assignable – specify who will do it.
- Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
- Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
Over the years, the acronym has changed or morphed. Wikipedia lists this as the most common version of SMART.
- Attainable/Achievable – Similar to previous “Realistic”, is it possible to be accomplished
- Relevant – Does it align to the company values and long-term vision
- “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives” by George Doran, AMA Forum (Nov 1981)
- Wikipedia – SMART criteria
- Essential Guide for Writing SMART Goals – Smartsheet