Show Me The Measures

Show Me The Measures

Although she’s too far away to hear me, I want to give a big shout-out to Stacey Barr from Australia who describes herself as a performance measure specialist. In the Performance Measurement Association Discussion Forum, someone named “Eke, U” asks which parameters they should use to measure the performance of a marine terminal gate. I don’t even know what a marine terminal gate is but Stacey gives an outstanding response to this poster and everyone else who has ever asked what measures they should use:

These are not measurement questions. These are questions about strategy or direction. If you know what results your work should produce, then the measurement is almost obvious. Trouble is, most people struggling to decide what to measure are struggling because they really don’t have much idea about what results their work should produce.

How can this be? Why do so many people not realise that you first have to know the results you’re trying to create before the question of measures even becomes relevant?


However you say it, the conclusion is the same. Measures are useless without associated objectives. You shouldn’t just monitor activities using input and output measures. Instead, you should monitor impacts using outcome measures.

The next time someone shouts “Show me the measures!” take a page from Jerry Maguire and focus on the real problem instead: helping them achieve their goals.

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3 Responses to Show Me The Measures

  1. Stacey Barr January 15, 2007 at 9:31 am #

    Hi Jonathan!

    Even though I am quite far away, I still heard you! Thanks so much for taking my post to PMA Forum and sharing it with you readers. It’s a message I am very passionate about, and so glad that you’re with me on that.

    Okay, I’m going to take a wander through your blog – a few very tempting things to read!




  1. Measuring Analyst Relations « Manage By Walking Around - November 23, 2008

    […] that we’ve all been asked 1000 times about a wide variety of topics (even a marine terminal gate).  As I said then, every time someone asks you to show them the measures, be sure to quote Stacey […]

  2. Most Popular Blogs « Manage By Walking Around - February 7, 2010

    […] It’s a question I’ve started hearing again lately, especially as many of my work colleagues have begun experimenting with social media.  This is an unanswerable measurement question, just like for analyst relations or marine terminal gates.   […]

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