Tips for Aligning our Performance Measurement Efforts

Six years ago, no one was talking about performance measurement, and that presented some distinct challenges. Now, everyone is talking about performance measurement, and that is presenting some entirely new challenges.

Top of mind for me:  How can we ensure that functional teams are designing performance measures that will also contribute to a program (business line) result and ultimately to an enterprise result?

Before looking at some tips that speak to the heart of this question, we should review some foundational elements.

When defining performance measurement goals, outcomes and measures, it’s helpful to define the specific time frame for the measurement of results. Do we expect to achieve results in the short, medium or long term?  We have spent time over the last year working with clients who are finding it difficult to avoid the temptation of defining new performance measures, even when faced with the reality that their existing data systems cannot measure them.

We should make every attempt to leverage existing measures and already established means of gathering performance data.  Given the high volume of activity in this area, there is a potential for duplicating efforts and adding burden to already over-burdened resources.  By collaborating openly across the organization, we can actively mitigate this risk.

Here are some additional tips for aligning our performance measurement efforts:

  1. Create or participate in performance measurement working groups to ensure holistic conversations are taking place.
  2. Adopt a common departmental terminology for performance related information, such as, results, outcomes, measures, indicators, standards, targets.
  3. Leverage information available and recommendations made through recent audits, evaluations, and reviews.
  4. Ask tough questions of leaders to ensure that they validate expected outcomes often and in clear terms. Know the expected time frames associated with the delivery of results (short, transition, long term).
  5. Find available information related to client feedback and integrate it into design efforts.
  6. Select performance outcomes and measures that most represent the value that is brought to clients (vs. the volume of work activity that is undertaken).
  7. Be mindful of which OPI owns the data and data systems being discussed (if not your own), and ensure that they are fully engaged in the process.
  8. Share ideas with everyone in your policy-program (business line)-service delivery chain. Be open to adjusting performance information to better align with others.
  9. Find others who may be tasked with similar outputs, and find ways to work collaboratively with them to reduce duplication and align efforts.
  10. Be flexible when defining shared measures and recognize the value of many different stakeholders all pulling in the same direction and delivering on the same result.
  11. Leverage existing data and avoid creating additional data repositories that will add burden, and cause duplication and confusion for everyone.
  12. Engage openly with related subject matter experts from across the organization. For example, work with evaluation experts to ensure compliance to recent best practices, and work with data experts to ensure alignment with current direction.

Functional teams may be at risk of designing performance measures in a siloed manner if we do not make a concerted effort to work collaboratively throughout the design process.  Regardless of our assigned role or position within an organization, we should all play an active role in aligning our collective performance measurement efforts.

Any additional tips that you would like to add to the list?


Kathy Roy has implemented business transformation and change management projects in complex organizations for over two decades. She has worked with major companies, both public and private, and with numerous business sectors in both Canada and the United States. She is part of Systemscope's Strategic Business Consulting practice.


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