Essential Resources For Proper Performance Measurement

December 4, 2012 by Stacey Barr

Performance measurement done well takes a bit of effort and a bit of time – more effort and time that we can fit into and around all the other things we’re doing.

We have to resource performance measurement like we would any other change program that we’re serious about. It IS a change program – it’s not a software installation, or a brainstorming workshop, or a consultant assignment.

It’s a change program that builds a core capability that every organisation must have (but so few do). Are you serious about making performance measurement really work? Here’s what you’ll need:

A lead facilitator

The ideal is that your organisation has a Chief Performance Officer, the resident expert in good performance measurement practice, and skilled in leading others to apply it.

But it can be enough to have someone appointed to this kind of role as part of their usual job. Often it will be someone in the Strategy Office, but it’s not necessary. It just needs to be a role that is formally recognised. No moonlighting!

Representatives from each business unit

Each area of the business needs a local member in the organisation’s Performance Measurement Community of Practice, the group that ensures consistency in the performance measurement approach used.

These local representatives will take the lead in facilitating the development and implementation of performance measures in their business unit, usually by gathering together a small project team, called a Measures Team.

Consensus from the senior leadership team

You need Executive support to succeed with a corporate performance measurement approach. Not only do you need their support for resourcing (and making people’s time available to do measurement properly), but you need to be sure they don’t inadvertently undermine your efforts.

They need to be part of the learning process, and to understand what you are going to create. Otherwise, they can undo your good work with a simple demand like “No, I want THIS KPI, not that one!”

Training in a real PM methodology

Yes, yes! I know I sound biased adding this one. But think about it: can you really make performance measurement work properly by doing the same things you’ve always done?

I’ve found that most people’s performance measurement systems are failing them due to bad practices they don’t realise they have. Only training will raise awareness of those bad practices and their consequences, and replace them with better practices.

What about consultants, dashboard software, new data systems?

No. No. No. Not essential!

Performance measurement is something that should be as natural a part of doing business as management accounting. It’s a core competency. Well, it should be. The power of performance measurement isn’t unleashed by consultants, or dashboards or new data systems.

It’s unleashed by a change in the way people think about performance, the way people go about choosing meaningful measures, and the way people use measures to keep their attention and resources and energy focused on what needs to be improved most.

TAKE ACTION:

Do you have all these resources lined up? Yes? Go for it. No? Don’t bother until you do, or you’ll just make things worse.

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  1. I love your list. Especially the exclusion of software, data systems, and consultants! Eventually you’ll need someone with expertise in implementing but, the Lead Facilitator may well have that skill set. I like the concept of your measures team as this creates a program which takes into account the other departments in the organization.

    Warning though. If the departments are at varying levels of organizational maturity, chances are the facilitator will end up spending most of her time battling to get them to play; instead of developing a metrics program. I’ve found working with each business unit separately (since they each have a different set of goals, vision and mission – they should have unique metrics needs), I can work with the “heck yes” areas, building critical mass in the organization before I try to do an enterprise-wide effort. Basically, sometimes you need to develop unit level performance measurement before attacking the corporate-level.

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