The Anatomy of the PuMP Results Map

by Stacey Barr |

The Results Map is the best foundation to measure what matters across the entire organisation, meaningfully, logically, and systemically.

[Click on the image to open a larger version, to follow as you continue to read about the anatomy of Results Maps.]

Great KPIs or performance measures will collectively tell the story of how the whole is performing – the whole organisation, the whole department, the whole team. To understand the performance of the whole, we need to understand how the most important results relate to one another.

The first part of a Results Map’s anatomy is the layers.

There are four layers, denoted by colours. In the Results Map for the Fire Department above, we can see an orange layer around the outside, then, moving toward the middle, a blue layer, a green layer, and finally a pink layer in the centre.

Each of those layers contains a specific category of information:

  • The pink layer is the collection of results that describe the mission and vision, or the purpose, of the organisation. These are the ultimate results that the organisation or business intends to achieve, and they usually change very slowly, if at all, over time. These results might have a 10- or 20-year time frame, or even longer.
  • The green layer contains the results implied by the current strategic goals for the organisation or business as a whole. These goals are about what needs to improve overall for the organisation to better fulfil its mission and move closer to the vision. These goals will have a two- to five-year time frame. They will change as the organisation grows its capability and new improvement priorities emerge.
  • The blue layer contains the most important goals for business processes, such as the maintenance process, the customer delivery process, the marketing process, or a procurement process. If an organisation is not process-oriented, then the blue layer will contain the most important goals for the organisation’s main functions, like human resources, operations, or marketing. Either way, the blue results are about what needs to improve for the organisation to achieve the green results. Results in the blue layer will have a one- to two-year time frame.
  • The orange layer contains results that are specific to parts of business processes or business units within the main functions of the organisation. These results are about what needs to improve at a specific operational level in order to achieve the blue results. Results in the orange layer can have a time frame of a few months to a year or so.

The second part of a Results Map’s anatomy is made up of ‘bubbles’.

The bubbles are colour-matched to, and positioned within, each of the four layers. Each bubble contains a specific performance result. These performance results describe the intent of each goal in the organisation in measurable language.

Goals are often written too vaguely and weasely to be understood or to be measured. So their true intent is derived from the PuMP Measurability Tests technique (a shortened version is here). And the product is performance results, that say more clearly what our goals really mean. And that makes them measurable.

The third part of a Results Map’s anatomy comprises the lines that connect the bubbles to one another.

These lines are customized to represent the relationship types I mentioned earlier: cause-effect, companion, or conflict.

  • The cause-effect relationship is depicted by a line with an arrow, starting at the cause and pointing to the effect. In the fire department’s Results Map, the green result of ‘fires are prevented’ has a cause-effect relationship to the pink result of ‘less injury from fire incidents’.
  • The companion relationship is depicted by a line with a solid dot on both ends that I like to think of as holding the two results together. There is a companion relationship between ‘enough fire fighters are available for the demand’ and ‘equipment is available when needed’ in the fire department’s Results Map.
  • The conflict relationship is depicted by a line with an arrow on both ends, but a different style of arrow from that used for the cause-effect arrows. In the fire department’s Results Map there is a conflict relationship between ‘crews arrive at emergencies quickly’ and ‘response doesn’t put the community at risk’.

There are several unique benefits that a Results Map offers, that other strategy mapping tools do not.

Balanced Scorecard Strategy Mapping doesn’t put enough emphasis on writing goals (strategic objectives, in its language) that are measurable. It forces goals into relationships that don’t feel natural to everyone (its four perspectives). And it doesn’t make it easy to see a clear line of sight from operational teams’ goals to the strategic goals.

Logic models don’t always emphasise measurable goal writing, either. And while they map logical relationships between goals, they are often focused only on the linear logic for a single program or outcome.The link to strategy is not always clear, either.

The PuMP Results Map might seem more complex to look at, but the overwhelming majority of people understand it in a matter of seconds. For the first time, they see how they fit within and contribute to the purpose of the organisation. This clarity creates ownership and engagement like you’ve never seen before.

The PuMP Results Map is the best foundation to measure what matters organisation-wide: meaningfully, logically, and systemically.
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What are your experiences with the PuMP Results Map, or any other strategy mapping tool?

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  1. Matthew Boevink says:

    “Mission” or “Objective”

    Stacey, thank you for the learning from PuMP and ongoing information shared in these posts.

    I am motivated to write following the successful application of PuMP to develop measures of A&TSI cultural capability at an organisational perspective. Whilst doing so I used “Mission” in a performance measures perspective. In a caring, supportive way, my Aboriginal heritage colleague highlighted the potential connection with “Aboriginal Mission” for peoples from A&TSI backgrounds. Something I’d never considered as it is outside my frame of experiences.
    Thus, the small consideration on my part, moving to “Organisation Objective” was of significant importance to my colleagues – and I’d like to think a small contribution to cultural capability.

    • Stacey Barr says:

      Language and its meaning in different contexts is critically important. Your example, Matthew, is a perfect one in support of that. I have no solid commitment to the use of any particular words to describe the artifacts of planning and measuring. It’s a futile exercise. I love your approach to it – agree on words that work for you and your stakeholders. They are the people that matter, not the terminology police.

  2. Nicole Houben says:

    Dear Stacey,

    You write in your book about this subject, that cascading strategy from the top through the processes and departments is not a good way to do.

    But when i look at the result map i see that de results are cascading through the different levels of the organization. Are these results developed by asking ” in what ways does our department/process impact the result in the green and pink layer?

    Thanks in advance,

    Nicole Houben

  3. Nicole Houben says:

    Dear Stacey,

    Do you advise to translate all strategic goals in measurable results at once of could i start with one result and work it through the layers and check the relationships with each new goal which i will tackle after our pilot?

    Thanks in advance,
    Nicole Houben

    • Stacey Barr says:

      Nicole, you can certainly do just one at a time. Treat the first one, perhaps, as a test of the technique. Usually this gives people a great feel for the value of making goals measurable. And then they’re keen to dive into the rest of the goals.

      The process of Results Mapping is naturally iterative, so you want to work with it in a way that feels natural to you and your colleagues. Just stay true to the technique (and the Measurability Tests technique) and you’ll make tremendous progress.

  4. Dear Stacey,

    We are in the middle of our PuMP pilot and i hit a wall.

    We cascaded a strategic goal down the following result: Estimates for cost and time are more accurate and complete

    Then i asked members from departments which work on these estimates to draw aflow-chart with all the activities, which need to be done.

    We have just vague ideas about reasins why the estimates are not as accurat as they should. So we would like to built with KPI’s at first an overview and a possibility to measure the proces, so that we can get more information.

    I am struggling to make the step to tease out sub-performance results and later on to the outcome and in-proces measures.

    How do you go from flow chart to performance results/ sub proces Results without a bottlenek analizes?

  5. Hi Stacey,
    In this article you used the results and goals interchangeably, especially when describing the layers. You start with ‘results’ in the opening sentence and use goals in the following sentences. But I think goals are different from results. Are they not?

    • Stacey Barr says:

      This is the challenge with all the words we use to describe the pieces that make up the picture of strategy and performance measurement. People in different cultures and different organisations use different words to mean the same thing. I try to mix it up a bit, so that more of these people can see I am referring to a concept, without getting too pedantic about the terminology definitions. There is no answer to this, Leonard!

  6. Kenneth says:

    Just started to wonder about the layers and colours and KPIs. When I determine KPIs with the top management of a company, should they be for the goals in the pink layer, green layer, blue or organge? I feel the pink is the core for managemenet, but it they are changing in 5-10 years, how do we create and follow meaningful measures for that? If we would like to follow ie monthly how we are reaching the goals? Am I missin/forgetting something here :)? Thanks in advance!

    • Stacey Barr says:

      Top management of a company own the pink and green level results. Some of these will be long term, but some of the green results will be able to be tracked much more frequently, since they align to strategic goals that are looking for a change in 2 to 5 years. The blue and orange level results are owned by the parts of the company that have influence over those goals, and therefore will own the measures that monitor them.

  7. Brendan says:

    Hi Stacey, any tips on making a PuMP results map more accessible?

    • Stacey Barr says:

      Accessible in understanding, or the tool used to build one, or for people with vision impairment? It’s a good question, I just want to understand more about what you mean, Brendan.

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