Objectives are goalposts of what it is we’re trying to accomplish. Though they’re only a part of planning a project, if we don’t have well-defined and clear objectives, it could lead to us not having the stellar project results we want. Our objective should be a SMART ACORN. We review these two, complementing acronyms as ways to check that we're setting up our project for success.
Use SMART to ensure we know how to define our tasks toward getting things done.
SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound
Use ACORN to consider how a project objective will be measured and if it aligns properly with your group.
ACORN: Accomplishment, Control, Only Objective, Reconciliation, Numbers
A - Accomplishment - Does the goal describe results that can be verified (not behaviors)?
C - Control - Is the goal's accomplishment within the group's control?
O - Only Objective - Would we accomplish success if this were the only goal? Ensure goals are main goals; identify sub-goals separately.
R - Reconciliation - Will this goal interfere with another group, or is someone else already working on this?
N - Numbers - Can the goal be measured?
The ACORN test is published in this book: Tague, Nancy R. "ACORN Test." Quality Toolbox. ASQ, 2005, pp. 93-95.