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SMART matrix

Page history last edited by E. Sage Colombo 6 years, 10 months ago

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.







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




Training • Process mapping • Office schedule • Electronic filing

12 mos

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



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




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




Director and health officer schedule • Travel budget • Agency car

5 hrs/mo

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



Few funding sources for toxic waste cleanup

Grant writer • Chemical analysis equipment • Chemist

3 mos








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