SMART Versus DUMB Criteria


The intent here is to illustrate the difference between clear, or SMART (Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Relevant, and Time-based) definitions and criteria contrasted with unclear or DUMB (ie, Dull, Ubiquitous, Myopic, and Broad) definitions and criteria.

An Unclear Business Definition
(Example of DUMB Customer ID)

“The ID of the customer”

A Clear Business Definition
(Example of SMART Customer ID)

“A twelve character code that uniquely identifies a customer for our business.  The code will be displayed on all customer shipments and invoices.  Customers and customer service representatives use this code to resolve shipping or invoicing issues.  Finance uses this code to track customer sales performance.  Marketing uses this code for determining customer segment and group performance.  Sales uses this code to identify products purchases by customer.”

The code consists of the following:

  • Character One—either the letter “I” for customers internal to the company or the letter “E” for customers external to the company
  • Character Two—either the letter “U” for United States customers or the the letter “M” for multi-national customers without corporate headquarters in the United States
  • Characters Three and Four—two letter state code for the United States, Canada, and Mexico or two letter country code for other countries
  • Characters Five through Ten—system-generated numeric ID that is to unique to each customer
  • Characters Eleven and Twelve—system generated numeric ID that is unique to each customer distribution center

Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiative, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need.

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

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About Facilitative Leader & Instructor
Biographic Sketch — Terrence Metz Since the end of 1999, Terrence Metz has been a founding principal partner and vice president at Morgan Madison & Company. For over twenty years, through professional and academic endeavors, Terrence has focused on improving group decision-making. His experience has proven that two important components to effective group decision-making are: 1. Higher quality information assures higher quality decisions, 2. Properly managed conflict, generates more “options” to consider—
and groups with more options are proven to make higher quality decisions. Terrence is passionate about using and teaching the FAST Facilitative Leadership Training technique so that people and teams make more informed decisions. Terrence is the lead instructor and primary curriculum developer for MG Rush Performance Learning. He earned his Six Sigma Green Belt® from Motorola University and wrote most of the existing FAST curriculum. Terrence made the FAST technique more robust by adding and enhancing decision-making tools such as PowerBalls and the FAST quantitative SWOT technique that is used worldwide by Fortune 1000 companies. He introduced the concept of holism to the field of structured facilitation as a method for keeping discussions on target and aligning deliverables throughout an organization. Since 1999, Terrence has taught over two hundred classes. With a Baccalaureate in Science from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and a MBA from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on product/ process development and innovation. Terrence has a P&L background in capital goods markets with highly engineered-products and services (eg, Honeywell). He is an expert group facilitator, instructor, and developer of workflow processes and Voice of the Market inputs that accelerate commercial success. His engagements have included strategic development, business planning, problem-solving, continuous improvement, organizational design, process design and improvement, customer cognitivity workshops, and market-based product development and launch. His book "Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual" from CRC Press was published internationally in 2012. Terrence completed additional graduate work in inter-cultural decision-making processes at Marquette University, is a former board member of the Product Development Managers’ Association, and a long-time member of the IAF (International Association of Facilitators), MFNA (Midwest Facilitators Network Association), TMAC (Technology Management Association of Chicago) and WFS (World Future Society). Most importantly, Terrence is an effective listener and equally adept at teaching FAST classes as well as galvanizing consensus around complex issues for organizations and groups.

22 Responses to SMART Versus DUMB Criteria

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  18. Thanks you for your overly generous comment. The entire blog is self-inflicted and self-edited. I try to remain conscious about each drop of ink that gets used, as in being parsimonious. Hope to instill student registrations along the way for a one-week class on the topic of facilitative leadership that covers the consciousness, competence, and confidence of leading groups and teams of people toward consensus on complex and challenging topics. See for a public class schedule or consider hosting a private class for six to nine people. They will all discover the experience to be one of the best weeks in their professional careers.

  19. Thanks Frank,

    I’ll investigate to the best of my ability. Appreciate your time and diligence to respond, as well as your kind remarks. Terrence


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