| Login
Thursday , December , 14 , 2017
You are here:  BSC Basics  >  Blog

The Institute Way Blog

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How to Make Sure Your Targets Match Your Measures

By: Stacey Barr

Most performance measures or KPIs will have targets. After all, we have them to focus us on improving performance. But that focus can fracture if we don’t take care in how we express our measures and our targets, so they speak the same language.

Nerida (not her real name) emailed me this question:

"We have a measure “Number of staff with excess recreation leave balance” with a target of “90% of staff with no excess leave accrued”. Can the measure and target be like this or should they speak literally the same language?"

This is a very common situation. I see it in at least half of the strategic plans I look over. The targets are expressed in a language that doesn’t match the measure.

In Nerida’s case, the measure is focused on staff with excess recreation leave. But the target is focused on staff without excess leave. What’s more, the measure is a count but the target is a percentage. This won’t do.

It’s unnecessarily messy.

When people read the measure and the target, they’ll baulk at the inconsistent focus. This is distracting and confusing, and it erodes some of the credibility of measurement as a tool to inform decision making.

Clean up the mess by matching the units and the direction.

Nerida’s measure and target can easily be made simpler, clearer, and more credible by aligning two important features of measures and targets. The first feature is the units of measurement. Both her measure and target should be either a count, or a percentage. The second feature is the direction of improvement. Both her measure and target should focus on either staff with excess leave, or staff without excess leave.

So measure and target could be expressed more consistently this way:

Measure Name: Staff Without Excess Recreation Leave

Measure Description: Number of staff with no excess recreation leave balance, as a percentage of all staff

Target: 90%

A good formula to use, to express a measure and target.

Notice how the improved measure and target combination is written, above. There is a deliberate measure name, just a few words that capture the gist of the measure. Then there is a measure description, which fleshes out the quantitative method for computing the measure. And then the target is simply expressed as a number, in units that match the measure’s quantitative method.

The only thing missing in Nerida’s example, which I’d suggest you add, is a timeframe or date by which the target is to be achieved by. Or even perhaps, setting a target trajectory.

Stacey Barr is a specialist in organisational performance measurement and creator of PuMP, the refreshingly practical, step-by-step performance measurement methodology designed to overcome people’s biggest struggles with KPIs and measures. Learn about the bad habits that cause these struggles, and how to stop them, by taking Stacey’s free online course “The 10 Secrets to KPI Success” at www.staceybarr.com/the10secretstokpisuccess.
Print
Author: Stacey Barr
0 Comments

Categories: BlogNumber of views: 471

Tags: performance management KPI / performance measurement

Stacey Barr

Stacey BarrStacey Barr

Stacey Barr is a specialist in organizational performance measurement and creator of PuMP, the refreshingly practical, step-by-step performance measurement methodology designed to overcome people’s biggest struggles with KPIs and measures.

Other posts by Stacey Barr

Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Stacey Barr is a specialist in organizational performance measurement and creator of PuMP, the refreshingly practical, step-by-step performance measurement methodology designed to overcome people’s biggest struggles with KPIs and measures. Since the mid 1990′s Stacey has been developing and improving this methodology into the practical approach that thousands of people around the world are using today. Her long-term vision is that deliberate performance measurement, based on a methodology like PuMP, is as much a part of normal business management as financial management is.

x

Leave a comment

Name:
Email:
Comment:
Add comment

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x