STUPID goals are better than SMART goals. (agile is better than waterfall…)

SMART goals are like waterfall software development.


agile methods are better.


also, the “S” and “U” below makes me think about strenghts-based thinking.


Christophe writes about STUPID goals (edit: outdated link on


These 21st century SMART goals are human, fair, action oriented, performance enhancers.

And, [breathe in, breath out, breath in] I despise them.


My rejection comes from a … deeper root cause.


Plan, set scope, set time 

This sounds awfully like a mini-waterfall project plan. Doesn’t it? 

The problem with SMART goals is the set of a specific target. 

Lean tells us that systems will produce to their intrinsic capacity. The same applies to people. 

If the target is set to low, there is definitive under achievement. If set too high, failure or unsustainable efforts are the only options.


Long ago, Deming warned managers of target setting through his 11th point of leadership: “Eliminate numerical goals, numerical quotas and management by objectives. Substitute leadership.”


So, if SMART goals are stupid, let me introduce you to STUPID goals:

  • Sincere: attack issues you really care about. Don’t waste time where [your] heart isn’t [in it]
  • Transparent: you likely won’t achieve big things alone. Make your goal as much visible as possible so others know how they can help you 
  • Unique: your worth depends on the assets no one else has. Cultivate those 
  • Preeminent: focus on outstanding things to have outstanding impact 
  • Independent: reaching a goal is hard enough, don’t tangle them together 
  • Daring: be courageous, and push beyond your limit

Edit: see also 
(Service-oriented, True to self, Unique, Positive, Inspiring, Daring)

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