Talk:SMART criteria

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I think Revision as of 13:03, 12 May 2011 was a bad idea: "Deleted all the reference links for some choices of word. If every choice is put a link, the list will go on endless while people start putting in more choices".

Without citations anyone can put forward any terms they like. I think every term present should have a citation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:17, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

The attribution of the SMART concept contradicts the prevailing opinion among business admin teachers. Usually attributed to Peter Drucker's Management by Objectives concept (hence also the discussion here about criteria and objectives - these are of course CRITERIA for OBJECTIVES ...). Attribution to Doran needs to be cross-checked. Plus let's have a look into the old Drucker sources before citing subsequent reference. (talk) 16:19, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Another discussion about the article title[edit]

The first thing I'd like to say is that it looks like "Requested move" was the wrong way to go before. I apologise for starting off the wrong process. "Requested move" is more suited to moving a page over an existing page. It looks like I should have just started a conversation here. (See also: User talk:Yaris678#Talk:SMART criteria#Requested move).

So. Let's have a conversation about the best article title. My take on it was that SMART gives criteria for judging goals or objectives. The names SMART criteria, SMART goals, SMART objectives or even SMART targets are all acceptable. It is more a question of thinking which is best.

I would prefer "goals", "objectives" or "targets" because the criteria are specifically criteria for for judging these things, and because it is more common to talk about "SMART goals" and "SMART objectives". Specifically, it is more common to say "these objectives need to be SMART", rather than "these objectives need to meet the SMART criteria."

I preferred "SMART objectives" because that was the term used in the original paper by Doran. It is also consistent with the related concept of management by objectives.

Now Dan Polansky has provided a link to Google books search, which suggests that SMART goals is the most common term. I have expanded the search to include "SMART targets" and we can see that this is roughly as common as "SMART criteria" but less common than both "SMART goals" and "SMART objectives."

I'm not an expert on interpreting Google search results, but this "ngram" approach, looking specifically at Google Books, looks like it will give fewer spurious results than just seeing how many Google hits you get. Interestingly, if I search for the different terms in Google Books, I get slightly different types of books:

Obviously, there is a big overlap between the results but the focus seems to shift.

So what does this all mean? I guess the fact that the focus of "SMART criteria" is between that of "SMART objectives" and "SMART goals" is a point in favour of sticking with that title. But generally in Wikipedia we try to stick with common names. Arguably the formal business books that talk about "SMART objectives" are more reliable sources than the self-help books that talk about "SMART goals" but I wouldn't want to claim to be an expert on that.

I would be interested to know other people's thoughts on this.

Yaris678 (talk) 13:17, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

  • I support renaming "SMART criteria" to "SMART objectives". I support renaming "SMART criteria" to "SMART goals". I am undecided about whether we should go with formality ("objectives") or frequency ("goals"). --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:29, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
  • While collecting sources for the table, I have just come across Strategic Security Management, which talks about SMART metrics. This is interesting because the definition is very similar but subtly different. A metric obviously can't be a achievable, but it can be actionable. i.e. it might give you info that you can do something about. Similarly The Basics of Performance Measurement talks about SMART performance measures, which are action-oriented. This being the case, maybe it makes sense to have a section on SMART metrics. If we do that then "SMART criteria" is probably the best name for the article. Yaris678 (talk) 15:59, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Sourcing the table[edit]

I've just added some sources to the table. I think we should add some more sources and then reassess the table. We may find that some terms aren't verified in the sources we find. We may find we want to re-order some terms.

Does this make sense?

Yaris678 (talk) 20:15, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

I've found a paper that talks about how many different interpretations there are of SMART. Yaris678 (talk) 17:07, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
This confirms what I've noted earlier - that the 'criteria' seem to change regularly, based on the whim of whoever edited the article last. Only it isn't just our article, but elsewhere too. Basically, we now have a source that tells us that there are no established criteria any more. On this basis, it is no longer supportable for our article to list a single set of 'criteria' - and I can't see how we could go any further in establishing the history of the 'criteria', or the relative popularity of different 'criteria', without engaging in original research. Which we can't do. This is a mess... AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:19, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
I mostly agree. I think ultimately the article will change so that the lead doesn't give a definitive list of what the words mean... although it may allude to specific and measurable since these are pretty consistently present. In the body of the article we need to give a good overview of what the different sources say. We should try to find the most reliable and relevant sources and summarise those. Ultimately, I think the table will go or change significantly in form. I don't want to make a "big bang" change though. Collecting sources that look reliable and relevant and sticking them in the table looked like a good first step. Yaris678 (talk) 18:39, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
I have just modified the lead in-line with what I said on 16 July 2013. Hopefully that will reduce the number of IPs changing it to reflect the version they know. Fingers crossed. Yaris678 (talk) 12:46, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

New Sections to build out[edit]

It would be great to update the "History" section with some more background of the goal development! Also, perhaps it would be useful to add an "Opposing Views" or "Alternative Views" section, given there are papers advocating against the SMART criteria. I will try to add these at some point, but I'm not sure when I'll have time. I just thought I would add here so I don't forget :) Jwild (talk) 21:40, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Are any of these papers viewable online? (Ideally without a fee.) If you post some links on here others might be able to add stuff to the article.... or if not then at least you have a handy list of papers ready for when you have time to edit the article.
Yaris678 (talk) 12:51, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Doran quote[edit]

I'd like to discuss this edit. Changing the title of the section may be a good idea but there are some issues with cutting down the quote from Doran.

The pedantic points are:

  • The quote now doesn't have a closing quotation mark
  • You left in the footnote referring to "the last sentence of the quote" even though this sentence isn't in the article any more.

More broadly there is obviously the issue of whether or not to include the bit you removed. I can definitely see that it is not as important as the bit you kept, but it is a note, by the original author, on how the criteria should be interpreted. This seems quite important to me. Jwild, I'm not sure what you meant by "I think this isn't encyclopedic content".

Yaris678 (talk) 13:18, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Hi! sorry for my delay. So, I see now why it felt like it wasn't "encyclopedic" to me - I didn't realize that whole block was a quote! Maybe if we formatted it a bit differently, using one of the more easily recognizable quote templates it will be more obvious? Of course, it could be that it was just me who overlooked the quotes. I definitely see what you mean now and agree that it is important to include it as a thought of the original author. It could be, too, that we summarize the other pieces (the bullet points with the definitions of the criteria) and only quote the last part which I originally removed. Thanks for your help with this and assisting me in understanding. Jwild (talk) 19:26, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Hi Jwild! Thank you for explaining where your thinking was going on that. I think the quote template is a good idea and have implemented it. I have kept the bullet points in the quote. I think it works well that way. Yaris678 (talk) 15:45, 7 December 2013 (UTC)