SMART Matrix

Quality in Healthcare

SMART Matrix

What It Is

  • A SMART matrix is a communication and planning tool used to identify the specifics of actions or tasks.
  • SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, resources, and time.
  • It is an L-shaped matrix designed to capture the key points of a team’s project objectives.
  • It provides a process to review how actions are being implemented around various attributes.

When to Use It

  • When you need to analyze an implementation plan’s tasks to ensure they are on track.
  • When you need to understand the amount of resources needed to implement a plan.
  • When you need to understand how the various tasks are sequenced and related.

How to Use It

  • On a piece of flip chart paper draw an L-shaped matrix with five columns labeled Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Resources, and Time.
  • Write the implementation plan title in the upper left of the chart.
  • Detail the specific tasks to be performed. Make the task statement detailed and well defined. The example in the figure below shows a combination of task and objective statements providing measures, outcomes, and time frames.
  • For each detailed specific task:
    • Define a measure or indicator that can be tracked.
    • Determine how it will be attained in actionable terms that are realistic and feasible.
    • Indicate the amount and type of resources required to complete each task identified.
    • Identify the timeline for completion.
  • Once you have completed the matrix, review the results with the implementation team to ensure that you have accounted for and recorded everything.
  • Review the matrix to make sure the timeline is realistic and all tasks are not due to be completed on the same day.
  • Review the matrix and get a feel for the total amount of resources required. Determine if they are available or if adjustments need to be made.

The figure below shows a table summarizing the detailed conversation generated by using the SMART matrix. Notes within the matrix indicate areas of resource constraints that require attention from project sponsors and department leadership.

Task/objective S M A R T

Reduce overtime for clerical staff by 15% by the end of 3Q09

X

X

X

• Training
• Process mapping
• Office schedule
• Electronic filing

12 mos

Recruit five nursing assistants for the vaccination program by July 15, 2009

X

X

Discuss at 12/15/09 senior management meeting

• Hire tickets
• Salary budget
• Available talent pool

8 mos

Enroll the new quality improvement coordinator into team training for 4Q08

X

X

X

• Training budget
• Appropriate class
• Travel funds
• Time away from current duties

2 mos

Visit three substance program community partners each month between 12/08 and 7/09

X

X

X

• Director and
health officer schedule
• Travel budget
• Agency car

5 hrs/mo

Obtain two additional grants totaling $85K for toxic waste cleanup by 2Q09

X

X

Few funding sources for toxic waste cleanup

• Grant writer
• Chemical analysis equipment
• Chemist

3 mos
  Specific Measurable Attainable Resources Time

Excerpted from Ron Bialek, Grace L. Duffy, and John W. Moran, The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook (Milwaukee, WI: ASQ Quality Press, 2009), pages 209–210.

Featured advertisers


 
ASQ is a global community of people passionate about quality, who use the tools, their ideas and expertise to make our world work better. ASQ: The Global Voice of Quality.