Section 5: Measuring Performance
How can we translate abstract organizational goals into tangible outcomes that can be easily measured? What types of metrics and performance indicators have worked well in specific organizations? What are the limits to a performance or outcome-based perspective in the public sector (or alternatively, what types of programs will be difficult to track)?
Validity and Reliability
Kimberlin, C. L., & Winterstein, A. G. (2008). Validity and reliability of measurement instruments used in research. Am J Health Syst Pharm, 65(23), 2276-84.
Author: Hanson, Keely; Editor: Hanson, Keely
Key Performance Indicators
USAID (1996). Performance Monitoring and Evaluating Tips: Selecting Performance Indicators.
Author: Checksfield, Molly Wentworth; Editor: McCully, James I
SMART Criteria for Performance Measurement.
Author: Rodriguez Ranf, Daniela; Editor: Gobbo, Andre Francis
The **SMART Criteria article is about how to evaluate and develop clear and useful objectives. SMART is an acronym comprised of key measures for judging objectives: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (please note that different sources exchange words like attainable instead of achievable, or realistic instead of relevant). The development of the SMART criteria have been most commonly credited to Peter Drucker’s Management by objectives (MBO) concept, also known as management by results (MBR), which defines a process within organizations where management and employees are in agreement of objectives and goals, and understand what they need to do to achieve them . SMART criteria does not imply that all objects must be quantified at all levels of management. The utility of SMART criteria should be seen as a combination of the objective and the action plan.
** DEVELOPING SMART GOALS **
The following characteristics of S.M.A.R.T goals are described by Paul J. Meyer in _Attitude is Everything . _
Specific: This first criterion focuses on scope. It stresses the need to be specific rather than general or vague when developing objectives or goals, in order to avoid misinterpretations, and to instead provide as much clarity and direction as possible. A good test to see if a goal is specific enough is to apply the five “W” questions:
_- What: What do you want to accomplish?
- Why: Provide specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
- Who: Who is involved?
- Where: Identify a location.
- Which: Identify requirements and constraints_
Measurable: The second criterion focuses on the need for a standards of measuring progress, in order for a team to know that they are working towards successful completion of a goal. Measurement helps a team stay on track, develop benchmarks, meet deadlines and helps evaluate progress. Questions to ask to see if a goal is measurable include:
_- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
- Indicators should be quantifiable _
**Achievable: ** The third criterion focuses on the need for goals to be realistic, attainable and within reach. It highlights the importance of being aware of the team’s capacity and resourcefulness. The article explains that “when you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them. The theory states that an attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals.” Questions to ask when trying to evaluate whether a goal is achievable include:
_- How can the goal be accomplished?
- How realistic is the goal based on other constraints?_
Relevant: The fourth criterion focuses on identifying whether the goal matters to the mission of the organization/program/department. Goals need to be relevant and important to supervisors, bosses, the team, the organization. A common understanding of relevance and why goals are important can unify teams and drives progress. It is also important for goals to be relevant, but it is also crucial for goals to be aligned with other goals for a coordinated and cohesive approach to achieving goals. Answering yes to the following questions would help evaluate where a goal is relevant:
_- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match our other efforts/needs?
- Are you the right person?
- Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?_
**Time-bound: ** The fifth criterion focuses on having a clear time-frame and target dates. Setting deadlines and helps the team priorities and structure resources and time in order to complete the tasks. The importance of this criterion is also to establish a sense of urgency, a clear end-date to prevent goals from being sidetracked by day-to-day tasks. Questions to ask when evaluating whether a goal is time-bound include:
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?_
Overtime authors have added additional letters to SMART. Here are some examples:
_- Evaluated and reviewed
- Evaluate consistently and recognize mastery_
- Trackable and agreed
- _Realistic and relevance ('Realistic' refers to something that can be done given the available resources. 'Relevance' to the bigger picture and vision.) _