When choosing an indicator, some people have found it useful to remember the 'SMART' rule:  
  • Specific:
    • Is the indicator specific and clear?  Is it concrete?
  • Measurable:
    • Will you be able to collect the necessary information for this indicator?  Is there a source for the information you need?  Do you have the resources to collect the information or will it require too much time and skill to do so?
  • Actionable:
    • Would you be able to take action, if necessary, in response to the information that the indicator provides?  Will the indicator tell you enough to make an informed decision?
  • Relevant:
    • Will the indicator give you information that is necessary for decision-making about your project/program, or will it give you information that is only “nice to know”?
  • Timely:
    • Will the indicator tell you what you need to know at the right time?  Are the methods used to collect data for your indicator (e.g., median family income) done frequently enough to enable you to make timely decisions?