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.