Why do you measure performance? Well probably the simplest and most common phrase (that I have mangled, but) that you might have already heard is “you can’t fix what you don’t know” or “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” or even “what you measure gets done“. While these are all true in their own way, the real reason that you should be thinking of measuring performance is from a proactive standpoint and not a reactive one which is what these all are.
You want to measure so that you know what is GOING to happen – which is extremely difficult but also extremely necessary. By ensuring that your resources are in place and trained BEFORE the customer knows that’s what they want is only going to make your company shine that much brighter! Put another way – “you measure to ensure you have enough time to adjust”.
Measuring a project (or for that matter your teams individual (see my post on Annual Performance Reviews) performance) at the end, is often too late. Constant and continuous measurement and feedback are needed throughout the course of the objective to ensure that you are able to appropriately adjust to any deviations and make the appropriate modifications necessary. By determining that a project has failed to meet the objectives only at the end of the project you are missing a key step.
KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are a way for you to organize these measurements on a frequent basis and it is key that you share this performance with the staff/teams impacted. By only reporting UP in the chain of command with regards to KPIs and performance the people actually impacted are unable to adjust their performance appropriately.
Remember, its a continuous feedback loop just like any other Quality initiative and one of the key pieces of continuous feedback is that failures are fed back into the process as a step in the chain for improvements.