Measurement: What good looks like
When you frame up operational, organizational, competitive, or financial performance in any organization, measurement of performance is critical to understanding what is happening.
How do you establish measurements?
This question leads to a couple more questions: What are you planning? (Future), what have you done?(Past), what problems are you facing? (Present) (Source: Step by Step Guide to OKR’s: Alexander Maasik). I would also suggest that you take a look at what data is available. Sometimes measurements do not need anything more than to apply the effort to solidify the measurements you want in place.
What Good Looks Like
One of my favorite stories about measurements starts at BD. We had data that demonstrated that we were spending millions of dollars when parts failed. The engineering team and the service engineering team worked in unison with measurements around the highest failure parts to improve performance so that the parts did not fail as often.
This measurement started with the available data and branched out into multiple systems and sources to best understand why the failures were happening and what could be done to improve the highest failure parts. The team was able to implement enough improvements that they saved $13M in one year.
My Measurements Should Be Perfect
The final thought that I would leave you with is, “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” (Voltaire). Sometimes the data we have is not clean and when you look at it the information coming out is not perfect. Does the data directionally tell you enough that you can make a decision? If so, you need to use what you have and then when improvements are in place check again to see if the improvements move the needle on what you are measuring.