Building Buy-in to KPIs Online With Virtual Measure Galleries

by Stacey Barr |

When we can’t collaborate in person, to develop better KPIs, we can still build buy-in to KPIs by using virtual Measure Galleries.

Cassandra Ashton, Relationships Australia Queensland

There are several reasons why working virtually can be the best option for engaging stakeholders as you develop better KPIs or performance measures:

  • The geographical spread of your stakeholders makes in-person meetings impractical.
  • They are busy and can only spare short bursts of time.
  • You have tight timeframes and need to move fast and not waste any time.
  • They work from home, or are part-time, and not often in the office.
  • Some are too shy or intimidated to participate in person.
  • Crises, like COVID-19, restrict the ability to travel or work in groups.

But engaging our KPI stakeholders is too important. Lack of the right kind of engagement has been a major cause of many failed performance measure implementations. Measuring performance is shrouded in a negative stigma, which won’t go away with rhetoric. We need to create new experiences for the people want to buy in.

Start with the basic Measure Gallery idea.

If you know PuMP, you know we use a technique called a Measure Gallery as one tool to do this. A team will use a Measure Gallery to share the measures they’ve designed, before implementing them. They invite questions, suggestions, and feedback in general from the wider community of people who might have a stake in the team’s measures.

Usually Measure Galleries are live workshops. But a great alternative is the virtual Measure Gallery, where information is shared and people participate 100% online.

Make the Measure Gallery virtual with online tools.

Some of our PuMP community have experimented with virtual Measure Galleries. When I spoke to one of them, Amy Ells who works in the Canadian government, she shared a few very simple but doable tactics for how to run virtual Measure Galleries that work.

Start with an open mind about possible options. Don’t judge too soon.

Amy and her Measures Team started with an open mind, holding back judgement of any option about its pros and cons:

“We knew we’d have struggles with the Measure Gallery right from day one because of our geographic spread… We looked at options [like] do we host multiple WebEx sessions? Do we record video? Do we send out a series of emails to elicit feedback? Or do we create something like a SharePoint site?”

It might be easier first time around to use an existing online platform.

In Amy’s organisation, SharePoint was already used for planning and reporting. It seemed like a natural extension to use this for performance measurement as well:

“We were looking at ways we could solicit feedback on a number of other initiatives at that point too. And so we felt, maybe we have this opportunity to create this feedback place. And then from this feedback place, we can link to the different opportunities for Measures Galleries over time.”

Include a way to welcome visitors to the virtual Measure Gallery.

It’s important to remember that most people who are invited to a Measure Gallery, visitors as we call them, won’t know much about PuMP and maybe not that much about good measurement practice either. So we can’t forget to properly welcome them with context:

“When somebody shows up at a Measure Gallery, you’d normally have somebody there to answer questions or explain a bit about what you were doing and ask for their feedback. And so instead we had to do that virtually… We welcomed all our employees and management to look at [our measures] and give their feedback.”

Some of the information that Amy’s team provided in their ‘virtual welcome’ included:

  • the original goals that the team had set out to measure
  • a video of me (Stacey) introducing what PuMP is about (get it here)
  • who the members of the Measures Team were
  • the purpose of the Measure Gallery
  • instructions for how to give feedback

Make it easy for visitors to give feedback.

To avoid overwhelm and visitors giving up because it looks too time-consuming, only provide the essential information you need feedback on:

We posted the things that you would normally have on the wall of your Measure Gallery. So, we had our Results Map, we had our Measurability Tests and our Measure Design worksheets, all there for people to look at and interact with.

And make the instructions very clear, and very simple, so visitors immediately understand what to do. Try to make it as familiar as possible to them, where you can:

And so then the last thing that we had on the page just says, ‘What do we want from you?’ And it tells them in two steps, review the materials that are here and then give us your feedback. And we used an image there of Post-it notes and we did that very purposefully… because that is a thing that we do a lot of meetings. And so, these are your virtual Post-it notes, where you can put your ideas, and we’ll take them all into consideration.

Test the virtual Measure Gallery before going live.

The proof is in the pudding. And because a virtual Measure Gallery is the kind of pudding that you can’t observe people consuming, you won’t know if it’s working or not until it’s too late. So test it first:

We got feedback before we were ready to send it. We got feedback from the measures team themselves [and] from a community of practice at my department of others who have taken PuMP training. And so we got their feedback as well on what they thought of this and how they felt it would work and that kind of thing. And so we were able to make changes and then incorporate steps to make the flow very logical for people coming to interact with it for the first time. We got a few people who had no knowledge of PuMP to look at it to see if it made sense to them.

A virtual Measure Gallery can stay true to the principles of the in-person version.

There are a few principles that make a Measure Gallery work and Amy’s team embodied so many of those principles in their virtual alternative:

  • They welcomed visitors with appropriate context and purpose.
  • They kept it simple, with few instructions and clear prompts to guide the visitors in giving feedback.
  • They made it voluntary and open for people to participate when and for how long it suited them.
  • They laid it out logically so that as somebody would enter the virtual Measure Gallery and have a very similar experience, as they are paced through the information.
  • They didn’t constrain anyone from giving any kind of feedback on anything.

My hope is that you take some inspiration from Amy Ells, and discover how it is possible to get engagement when we work virtually, by staying true to the proven principles.

Get the full story of how Amy Ells designed and ran a virtual Measure Gallery in this case study of adapting PuMP’s Measure Gallery technique by watching the interview:

“Virtual is never going to be quite the same as in-person, and the sooner we recognize and accept that, the sooner we can work with it and be successful.” – Amy Ells, pioneer of virtual PuMP Measure Galleries.
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