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Data Sharing Playbook

A guide for state & local agencies on how to improve cross-organizational data sharing.

Appendix A: Setting SMART goals

Data can help you track progress toward agency goals. The SMART methodology is an excellent strategy for connecting what you want to accomplish to the data that’ll indicate whether you are headed in the right direction.

Goals are SMART when they’re:

  • Specific — You’ve stated exactly what you want to achieve
  • Measurable — You have a way to know if you’re making progress
  • Attainable — You have resources and a strategy
  • Realistic — You’ve taken into account other commitments
  • Time-bound — You have a timeframe for achieving what you’ve set out to do

Let’s say that your agency operates a helpline, and the manager regularly receives complaints that constituents are waiting on hold for too long.

Here’s what a SMART goal might look like:

We will decrease the average on-hold wait time from 2 minutes to 1 minute by the end of 2020.

Based on this, it’s easy to determine what data you’ll need:

  • Current average on-hold wait time
  • Average on-hold wait time between now and the end of 2020

While this is a simple example, the same principles can be applied to larger goals: take the time and effort necessary to make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

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