Calculate Your Performance Measurement Maturity Score

by Stacey Barr

The journey to performance measurement maturity has 10 critical milestones. Which one is your organisation currently at?

PuMPPerformance Measurement Maturity Model

[Click for a larger image]

I guess there’s a better first question to ask, than what level is your organisation’s performance measurement maturity at. It’s this: why do you want to know? I can think of three reasons:

  1. If we’re going to put effort and resources into measuring performance, surely we need to be aware that we’re doing it well enough.
  2. If our performance measures aren’t working out for us the way we want, it’s good to understand why, and what the best thing is to fix it.
  3. If we are serious about measuring our performance to improve it, then it’s a natural extension to measure our measurement so it can improve too.
  4. A bonus reason I just thought of: it’s fun to gamify things.

If one of these reasons resonates with you, then read on to find out your organisation’s performance measurement maturity score.

The PuMP Performance Measurement Maturity Score

As with any model, they are always under development until they converge into a version that remains stable under further testing. This model hasn’t converged quite yet, but it sure has evolved over the last 20 years or so that I’ve been thinking about performance measurement maturity.

The PuMP Performance Measurement Maturity Score is based on this model. The data for the score comes from a 31-criteria version of the PuMP Diagnostic, which we normally use to engage teams early in the journey of performance measurement. And the score is aligned to 10 levels of the maturity model.

This model has rigour to it, unlike trivial surveys that just ask people what they think of their organisation’s approach to measurement. Perceptions are not accurate assessments of KPI maturity. We need to base a maturity score on observable evidence of practice.

Ten levels of performance measurement maturity…

Let me show you the model first, then you can try it out. We’re starting at the bottom (where you don’t want to stay) and moving to the top (where you want to aspire to be):

Level 1: Random

The focus of level 1 is be deliberate, not ad hoc. If an organisation has not overtly considered their approach to performance measurement, what gets measured and how it gets measured is completely ad hoc. Becoming consciously aware that measurement needs a deliberate approach is the only foundation that measurement maturity can be built upon.

KEY TO SUCCESS: When deciding to use performance measurement, always make a conscious decision about the approach to use.

Level 2: Control

The focus of level 2 is learning, not judging. When the purpose of performance measurement is control and judgment of people, it generates fear and dysfunctional behaviour. But when people see measurement as a tool to help them learn to improve performance, not a rod for their backs, the foundation of a true performance culture forms.

KEY TO SUCCESS: When initiating performance measurement, always set the purpose as continual improvement of processes, not as judgement of people’s performance.

Level 3: Results

The focus of level 3 is write goals clearly, not weasely. Most goals are articulated in vague language or corporate-speak, known as weasel words, and it makes them immeasurable. Before we can find meaningful measures, goals must be written clearly, in language a 5th grader can understand.

KEY TO SUCCESS: When writing strategic or operational goals, always use words that a 10-year-old could understand, because understandable means measurable.

Level 4: Evidence

The focus of level 4 is measures, not milestones. Too many measures aren’t really good measures at all. They are milestones, activities, trivial counts or concepts that aren’t quantitative. Good measures are evidence of our goals. They have to be deliberately designed from objective evidence of those goals.

KEY TO SUCCESS: When creating performance measures, always make sure the quantification is based on direct and observable evidence.

Level 5: Ownership

The focus of level 5 is buy-in, not sign-off. When goals are understandable and measured meaningfully, people suddenly see how to contribute to what matters in the organisation. They see that performance measurement’s purpose is continuous improvement of processes, and ownership of measures is easier.

KEY TO SUCCESS: When selecting performance measurements, always put the decisions in the hands of the people who own and use those measures to improve their processes.

Level 6: Truth

The focus of level 6 is details, not dashboards. Ownership of meaningful measures to improve processes creates desire for those measures to be accurate; to tell the truth about performance. More people feel confident to improve the details of implementation of their measures, from data definition to measure calculation.

KEY TO SUCCESS: When implementing performance measures, always prioritise the right data and the right calculations, before building those pretty dashboards.

Level 7: Knowledge

The focus of level 7 is signals, not noise. Truthful performance measures show how performance is changing through signals of statistical change over time. People are no longer distracted by comparisons between individual measure values. It’s the true signals of change that give the knowledge about performance.

KEY TO SUCCESS: When analysing performance measures, always use statistical rigour to reveal the true signals of what performance is doing.

Level 8: Insight

The focus of level 8 is feedback, not failure. People use measures the way scientists use them: to test the results of experiments to improve performance. There is no failure if there is learning. Information that leads to learning is insight, because it is perceived as constructive feedback to guide action.

KEY TO SUCCESS: When reporting performance, no matter the medium or method, always make sure the insights lead to learning and action.

Level 9: Leverage

The focus of level 9 is causes, not symptoms. Performance measures trigger investigation into what works and what doesn’t work in the continual quest for improved performance. And at the base of this quest is the search for the root causes that offer the highest leverage for performance improvement effort.

KEY TO SUCCESS: When executing strategy and change initiatives, always treat the root cause, not the symptoms, of not-good-enough performance.

Level 10: Excellence

The focus of level 10 is reflection, not routine. Mastery of performance measurement is more than just the routine of using a deliberate approach to measure for continuous improvement. It also requires reflection to evolve and redeploy that deliberate approach to sustain organisational excellence.

KEY TO SUCCESS: In your approach to performance measurement, always make sure it leads to high return-on-investment improvements.

Now… are you ready to find out your score?

Calculate your organisation’s performance measurement mastery…

Ideally I will build an online tool to calculate your organisation’s performance measurement maturity score, and give you a personalised action report. But not until this has some more testing.

Will you help me test this? Here’s what to do:

  1. Download the PuMP Performance Measurement Maturity spreadsheet.
  2. Alone, or with some colleagues, work through the 31 criteria to rate your organisation.
  3. Go to the Maturity Score worksheet to see your score, and what it means.
  4. Email your spreadsheet to me, along with any reactions or questions you have. I’ll personally respond to the first 25 people who email their score to me.

All the spreadsheets and reactions sent to me will help improve the tool for your future use. And using this tool will help you improve your organisation’s approach to performance measurement, and the value you get from it!

If you calculated your organisation’s Performance Measurement Maturity, what would you do with that score? [tweet this]

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