Six Sigma Key Strategies: SMART Objectives

Imagine this: you have just achieved your Six Sigma Black Belt certification. You’re about to begin your first role as a project manager within your corporation. All eyes are now on you and you have a growing desire to exceed managements’ expectations. Yet, how exactly are you going to do that? Whether you’re new to the Six Sigma profession or have years of experience, everyone has different ways to accomplish their tasks effectively. Some may prefer strict management rules while others have a more “open door” policy. Regardless of your stance, it’s important to recognize different ways of managing Six Sigma projects. In today’s article, we will discuss the new, SMART way for you to tackle your next project!

What is SMART?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic, and Time-Based. Each of these five steps walks you through project timelines, ideas, and performance while aiming for efficiency and accuracy. In more detail, here’s what you can expect at each step.


At the center of every project is a distinct goal. This goal gives the project purpose, drive, and direction. Likewise, it’s your responsibility as the project manager to ensure you are on track for meeting this goal. The first step, Specific, requires you to carefully define the goal and provide the necessary background knowledge to project team members.


Next, there is Measurable. At this step, you must decide if your project goal is first, obtainable, and second, how long it will take. This step is crucial to project planning and will help set expectations for deliverables and final completion. Additionally, this step will outline what you must do in order to achieve the project goal.

Agreed Upon

After you have your project goal in mind, you must have your stakeholders approve it. This may be your managers, senior executive, or public shareholders. Now, you must present what you will accomplish with your project, how long it will take, and what you will require. If your stakeholders disagree with your plan, you may need to revise your plan and start back at step one.


After your shareholders give you their approval, it’s time to get Realistic about your project. At this step, you will assess what resources your project needs in conjunction with what you have available to you. This includes funding, employees, time, and infrastructure to complete your project. Sometimes, the available resources are less than what you require. If this is the case, you will need to either downsize your project requirements or request additional support from your organization.


Lastly, there is the Time-Based step. At this step, you will ensure the amount of time that gets the project done while also achieve optimal performance. In certain cases, projects request more time than actually required, which makes the project less efficient. Use this step to plan out your project timeline carefully and work within the appropriate amount of time.

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