Balanced Measurements

This is a tool to help you identify a balanced set of measurements that will meaningfully provide information on the progress of the project and/or the final product/service. The arena of measurements requires some expertise as the simple development of measures not only provides you with information on how you are doing, but also has an affect on the behavior of people. Sometimes a measure could be quite useful to have, but sends the wrong signals to those implementing the change or being affected by the change. Having said that, here are the basic steps.


1.  First review the critical success factors (see “Critical Success Factors” tool).

2. Brainstorm answers to the following scenario:

You’ve gone on a one year assignment to a remote location. Once a month, you are allowed to look at:

  • Five graphs that indicate the status of your project during the implementation phase
  • Five graphs that indicate the effectiveness/efficiency of your initiative after the implementation phase.

What do you want to see?

3. Now review the brainstormed measures and take into consideration the different measurement dimensions:

  • Areas: Financial, Safety, Environmental, Regulatory, Product/Service Quality, Customer Satisfaction,
 Employee Satisfaction, Operational Performance, Supplier Performance, Living The Values, Learning,
 Innovation, and Growth
  • Timing: Past, Present, Future
  • Audience: Users, Stakeholders, Implementors
  • Types: Results, Behaviors
  • Groups: Team, Individual.

4. Fine tune the measures using the characteristics of good measures:

  • Completeness: The extent to which a measure adequately measures the phenomenon rather than only some aspect of the phenomenon (e.g., sales [goods shipped vs. received], sequential rather than parallel, 360 appraisal).
  • Timeliness: The extent to which a measurement can be taken soon after the need to measure, rather than being held to an arbitrary date (e.g., a particular calendar date) (e.g., returned product, complaint letter, exit interview).
  • Visibility: The extent to which a measure can be openly tracked by those being measured.
  • Controllability: The extent to which the measure can be directly influenced by those measured.
  • Cost: The extent to which the measure is inexpensive, whether the data is easily obtainable or already collected for another purpose.
  • Interpretability: The extent to which a measure is easy to understand and produces data that is readily comparable to other organizations and time periods (e.g., RBI, new income).
  • Importance: The extent to which the measure is connected to important business objectives rather than measuring what is easy.

5. Create a matrix that contains, for each measurement:

  • Measurement Name
  • Measurement Description
  • Collection Method
  • Frequency
  • Owner
  • Targets (minimum, target, maximum)

6. Review for balance, simplicity, and redundancy.