This is part 10 of 14 in the Inside Axelerant series regarding…

Axelerant’s Inside Axelerant series gives you a glimpse of principals, policies, and guidelines within our Open Company.

Setting SMART Expectations

Axelerant team members should ensure that each goal or expectation meets the following 5-point SMART criteria. If an expectation isn’t SMART, then pick another or remove that expectation.


  • Describe the key function or role component that the expectation addresses (e.g. customer service).
  • Describe the performance factor that the expectation addresses (e.g. interpersonal effectiveness).
  • Describe the performance expectation actions necessary to complete the expectation and indicate related organizational objectives  (e.g. all customers will be given prompt, friendly, and useful services in line with the organization’s focus on providing all service in a customer friendly environment).
  • Avoid generalities and use action verbs as much as possible.


Indicate how expectations will be measured regarding terms of quantity, quality, timeliness, or cost (e.g. increase by 25%) to determine successful completion.


  • Make sure that accomplishing the expectation is within the team member’s realm of authority and capabilities.
  • Can the team member complete this expectation with the skills, resources and time available to them?
  • Are there factors beyond their control that need to be considered?


Ensure the expectation is practical, results-oriented, and aligned with Axelerant’s goals and values.

Time Framed

Define the time frame within which tasks must be achieved (e.g. every week, by Feb 14). Establishing a clear timeline enables the team members to set appropriate priorities when completing multiple tasks. It also avoids differing assumptions between team members and managers about the priority of the task.

The SMART Formula

(Action Verb) (Key Result) by (Target Date) by (How).

SMART Writing Helpers

Specific – Use descriptive verb & concrete result

  • Administer
  • Analyze
  • Attain
  • Calculate
  • Create
  • Decrease
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Distribute
  • Establish
  • File
  • Improve
  • Increase
  • Maintain
  • Monitor
  • Organize
  • Participate
  • Prepare
  • Process
  • Propose
  • Reduce
  • Research
  • Schedule
  • Solve
  • Submit
  • Train
  • Write

Measurable – Target quantity, quality, or yes/no results

  • Cost per issue
  • Dollars raised
  • Freshman retention rate
  • Geographic territory
  • Increase in test scores
  • Number of clients served/repeat business
  • Number of complaints
  • Participation rate
  • Percentage increase/decrease
  • Pieces per hour
  • Quality metric/error rate
  • Response time
  • Satisfaction scores
  • Supervisor/employee ratio
  • Time to hire
  • Words per minute

Actionable – Confirms actions within scope of job

  • Per policy _____
  • During _____ process

Realistic – Ensure expectation is reasonably challenging & achievable

  • _____ number
  • _____%

Time Bound – Ensure there’s a deadline, milestone, or frequency for the expectation

  • By _____ (March 1st)
  • Every _____ (Thursday)
  • Everyday
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Weekly
  • Within _____ business-days (3)
  • Within _____ days (30)

SMART Examples

  • Baseline and institutionalize Risk Management version 1.0 by June this year.
  • I will be contributing to three blogs in next 4 months for my company website.
  • I will ensure to spend x hours per week for next 8 weeks on the induction project.
  • Over the next 3 months, I will contribute at least 10 new technical learnings from peers/projects to build on the company’s knowledge repository.
  • Over the next 6 weeks, I will check and complete my pending time logs by 10:30 AM every morning.
  • Over the next x months I will save y amount of money for investing in policies.
  • Within the next 1 months, I will learn on the concept of Risk Management and start recording risks proactively on my projects in Curamine.
  • Within the next 2 months, I will participate in 6 webinars for enhancing my knowledge.
  • Within the next 3 months, SLA service targets will be automated in Curamine.
  • Within the next 6 months, I will enroll and take one professional certification.


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