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SMART planning is:
     S: Specific
    M: Measurable
    A: Attainable
    R: Risk Informed
    T: Timely

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SMART Guide
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What's New on the SMART Guide
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Tips, Tools & Techniques

Last updated: 20 December 2012

Level of Detail by Project Purpose

    In order to achieve the SMART Planning objectives for study completion in 3 years and under $3 million dollars, the project delivery team must continually ask critical questions about the appropriate level of detail necessary to make risk-informed decisions. Throughout the study process, the team makes continuous choices about what data is necessary to make planning decisions and the appropriate level of detail for the phase of the study.

    Choosing the criteria (metric and methodology) for the planning decision is the act of determining your appropriate level of detail. As an example, the team could choose to use engineering judgment instead of models to screen out alternatives and determine the viability of a plan. This would reduce cost and time.

    The team should complete more progressively detailed analyses over a smaller array of alternatives until finally identifying the tentatively selected plan. The team reduces uncertainty with greater detail, but only when necessary to reduce unacceptable risk. Always ask yourself the question, “Can I make the decision with the data I have now?” When determining if additional detail is necessary, the team should ask the question, “Will this additional information change the decision?” Study teams should consider critical questions (PDF) throughout each phase of the study.

    The study team progressively and deliberately determines the level of detail they need (PDF) to make the next planning decision. The Decision Management Plan and Risk Register are tools that facilitate the team’s decision-making on the appropriate level of detail and capture the team’s choices. The study team must balance its choice for additional detail with the funds and time available against the risk and uncertainty of decision outcome. Using these tools in conjunction with clear communication of decisions and understanding of the risks helps achieve the three levels of vertical team integration.

    Below are more focused examples and suggestions about how to determine the appropriate level of detail.

    Resources: Thinking Critically about Level of Detail:

    Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction (HSDR):

    Ecosystem Restoration (ER):

    • Resource Significance And Its Tie To Performance Based Budgeting
    • Developing Problem And Opportunity Statements
    • Planning Smart Paper: Hydrology and Hydraulics - Draft
    • Sample Draft ER Risk Register 1 (XLSM) - Urban ecosystem restoration on an existing flood control project, early in the study process. NOTE: This risk register is provided as an example. It should NOT be used for any other study except as an example of how other real studies characterized and chose to manage risks associated with the study. Please do not cut and paste information.
    • Sample Draft ER Risk Register 2 (XLS) – Coastal estuary study, early in the study process. NOTE: This risk register is provided as an example. It should NOT be used for any other study except as an example of how other real studies characterized and chose to manage risks associated with the study. Please do not cut and paste information.
    • Sample Draft ER Risk Register 3 (XLS) - Wetland restoration with high resource significance, early in the study process. NOTE: The format of this risk register does not follow the standard template so please discuss pros and cons of this approach with your vertical team prior to using it. This risk register is provided as an example. It should NOT be used for any other study except as an example of how other real studies characterized and chose to manage risks associated with the study. Please do not cut and paste information.

    Navigation (NAV):

    Flood Risk Management (FRM):