Metrics for Success: Mixing It Up with Measurement

Michelle Cowan's picture

2011 was a wonderful year at APQC, particularly in process management. However, I must admit that after a year in which we released a major process management report, hosted a process management conference, and launched a study on building strong process management capabilities, even I am ready for a change of pace. Luckily, we are gearing up for a new study on one of my favorite topics: measurement.

Measurement is tricky business, but it has the advantage of feeling more tangible than concepts like process management. Measures are countable and comforting for management and executives. These days, everyone wants the hard data—the quantitative evidence of how an organization, a business unit, a project, a process, a team, or an individual is performing.

But just because measurement seems easier to wrap our heads around doesn’t mean it’s easy to do effectively. Measurement is more than numbers, and not every part of the business is simple to sum up.

Consider the proposed title of the study: Using Metrics that Drive Bottom-Line Value. Isn't that the goal—to find the metrics that create real value? You can measure everything and measure it again, but if you aren't looking at the elements of your business that make a real impact, you won't be able to leverage those measures to make a difference. We want to know how organizations are really using measures—how they report, how they choose what to measure, and how they tie everything to the bottom line with concrete evidence instead of conjecture.

We want your input as we shape this study. How do you determine which activities really need to be measured and reported? Do you report different measures to different people? How do you trace back and map all of the actions and influences that truly impact a measure? How do you decide which business elements to change when certain measures need to be improved? We want case examples of how organizations have gotten surprising results by making innovative choices related to measurement.

Visit the information page for the study, comment below, or send us feedback.

We have a long history with this topic. You can read these past reports for more of what's up in measurement:

And there's always my favorite white paper—Measurement: Best Practice Approaches for Informed Decision Making.

Plus, we're publishing a report on measuring quality at the end of this month. Stay tuned for that! New year, new topics, new insights. We are definitely ready for 2012.

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