Where Is Your Performance Measurement Process Breaking Down? (Part 1 of 2)

by Stacey Barr |

There are many, many symptoms of a broken performance measurement process, and while I don’t particularly want to dwell too long on this topic, you might find it useful to have a quick reference list of most typical of these symptoms.

A broken performance measurement process represented by a broken engine. Credit: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/dvulikaia

It can be useful for you to diagnose where your own performance measurement process might be in most need of attention, and can also provide a discussion point to get your colleagues and staff to start thinking differently about how to make measurement work.

Here’s my checklist of 36 most common symptoms of a performance measurement process breaking down:

1. lack of clear goals to measure against

2. the measures don’t align to strategic direction or team or individual goals or purpose

3. not knowing what to measure

4. struggling to measure seemingly immeasurable goals

5. not seeing the need to measure, or to have different measures

6. have too many measures or KPIs

7. a focus on financial measures and ignoring non-financial measures

8. manual and time-consuming data collection

9. the performance data that is collected is inconsistent, incomplete and inaccurate

10. performance data is not gathered in a timely enough manner to make decisions

11. not enough investment in data collection

12. too much time gathering data and not enough time to analyse it

13. difficulty in getting performance data out of data systems

14. disparate data sources don’t communicate with each other

15. not enough investment in data organisation or management

16. people do not capture the data the organisation needs them to

17. not finding meaningful formulas for measures values and data analysis

18. different groups measuring the same things different ways

19. lack of guidelines about how to report the measures and how often

20. reports are time consuming to produce

21. reports are cluttered and hard to use and navigate

22. targets are based on opinions

23. jumping to conclusions based on a month to month difference

24. misusing trend information

25. not knowing what actions to take in response to measures

26. people cannot say how they would act differently if the measure showed a change

27. people fear the measures showing poor performance

28. not clear who should take action based on the performance results

29. not using the data the organisation does have to improve processes and quality

30. no time for discussion about why the measures are important and what people can do to influence and improve the measures

31. people can not influence the performance results their measures track

32. lack of interest by people who aren’t directly involved in choosing and implementing and using the measures

33. perception that measuring takes too much time and effort

34. not knowing how to start

35. not getting the buy-in or engagement from people to measure

36. not maintaining the commitment to measure

I’m sure if you were to have this conversation in your organisation, you’d come up with a few different symptoms to those listed above, but the majority of them would overlap with those on this list. The power in knowing what problems your performance measurement process has is that when you’re conscious of them, you can do something about them.

And when you understand how the fundamental performance measurement process works, you can figure out how you can do something about them. Part 2 will give you a framework for how to start fixing your performance measurement process.


Which of the 36 performance measurement process problems have you got right now? Do you have any others, not listed in this article? Note them down, and stay tuned for Part 2 of this article, so you can start diagnosing which parts of your performance measurement process need improvement.

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