Success is measured in the completion of goals. Without clearly laid goals it is impossible for a team to be successful.

A team prior to the season or any project should lay out their goals during brainstorming sessions and discuss them as a group to decide if they are S.M.A.R.T goals.

S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that will guide your goal setting. Each letter defines an aspect of a good goal.

S – Specific. Is your goal focused and clearly defined? For example a good goal is not “build a robot that completes the challenge”. A good goal narrows down what your team wants to accomplish. It defines a time frame for the goal and creates guidelines that break-up a large task. An example of a specific goal is “In order to compete at our competition on October 27th, we will make a robot that can climb over the first two churros.” The specificity of this makes the goal seem more attainable.

M – Measurable. It is imperative for a team’s goals to be measurable. A measurable goal has a way in which it can be quantitatively evaluated in order to distinguish if the goal has been completed. In the previously used example of getting over the second churro it is evident that thisĀ is a measurable goal because you know its complete when the robot is able to get over the second churro. But if the goal was “to build a good robot” there is no clear way to measure if it is good or bad. This is because good and bad are relative, so “good” for one team might be putting debris into the low goals while “good” for another team is getting the robot to hang and release all the climbers. It is important to make sure that you know when your goal is complete or else the team may never reach it.

A – Attainable. Don’t make your team’s goals too far out of reach or else it will be impossible to reach the goal. Keep the goals within reach but it is also important to slightly push your limits. If your goals are unattainable it makes it lose its importance. Going back to the RES -Q examples, an attainable goal is climbing the mountain, but an unattainable goal is making a drone to hang. Although a drone may not violate the rules it is too far fetched to actually succeed. Think outside the box but in the realm of possibility.

R – Relevant. Goals should always be relevant to your purpose. For example a FTC team’s goal should not be “create delicious pizza”. It is completely irrelevant to the task at hand. This aspect of goal setting is basically to keep the team focused. Goals should not be crazy and they should be taken seriously.

T – Timely. This one might seem obvious but is a common pitfall in the goal setting process. Do not make goals that will take two years to achieve. If there is something that needs to be accomplished in two years it is important to break it down into bite size mini goals. A good rule of thumb is to keep the time limit under a year. The more time that passes the less focused you become on your goal. Make the goal have a end date or else the team won’t put full effort in it.

The purpose of goals is to take a big daunting task and break it up so it seems accomplishable. Goals are like little games that the team plays, if you don’t accomplish them the only person that will be let down is yourself. But if your goals aren’t S.M.A.R.T then they will be difficult to accomplish and the team may never see them through.

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