SMART-G, a mnemonic for smart meeting notes

Austin Govella
2 min readOct 18, 2022

Some thoughts on capturing key decisions in my meeting notes. Updated Saturday, November 6, 2022.

I always miss an important detail in my meeting notes. My mind is focused on other parts of the discussion and story. Thinking about what I miss, it’s some of the key decisions.

Things like dates or actions and who’s doing them pop out pretty well, but I miss other things. But what to capture? What are key decisions?

This is where I landed:

Key decisions affect dates or “rights” of any parties. The mnemonic SMART-G describes what I want listen for. Key decisions include anything that affects:

  • S — Scope/objectives
  • M — Money
  • A — Acceptance criteria
  • R — RACI relationships/people/who’s responsible
  • T — Time
  • G — Goals

S — Scope

Scope and objectives refers to any decision about a specific scope or objective, especially if it changes the previously agreed scope or objective. Scope represents the concrete, explicit commitment to be fulfilled.

M — Money

Any decisions or observations that note or change how much something will cost. Cost can be either a key constraint or commitment to be managed and fulfilled.

A — Acceptance criteria

Any decisions or observations that define how scope will be evaluated for completeness. Acceptance criteria define how something should be completed, how you know you’re done.


Any decisions or observations that involve people and their responsibilities. This can be people to reach out to, people assigned a task, people to be aware of, the people who said something that affected any of the SMART-G decisions.

For example:

  • Robert knows the answer to this
  • Keith said we needed 24 participants
  • Erin is doing this task

RACI notes identify who is committed to scope and acceptance criteria.

T — Time

Any decisions that affect when something will happen, start or stop, or any decision about how long something will or should take. Time reflects a commitment much like scope and acceptance criteria.

G — Goals

Any decision or observation that runs counter to known goals or high-level strategy. These can indicate a misalignment between activities and overall goals or that goals have shifted and should be re-captured.

Seems like a lot of stuff. I’m hoping the mnemonic, SMART-G, helps me remember what to listen for. Going to try this for a bit, and see if I stop missing those important details.




Austin Govella

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