I've often written that we shouldn't focus on measuring people, nor let time and budget metrics be our key indicators of project success. This is a key component of my SOPM (Service-Oriented Project Management) model.
That's not to say that time or budget should be ignored. They should be managed. And where it's a vital element of the project, it should be monitored. But these items shouldn't be used across the board to determine whether our organization is successful with project management.
As for measuring individuals, some claim that it's the only way to get results out of people (i.e. what gets measured gets done). I say this is leading by fear, and the dangers outweigh the results it brings. We can also get results by prodding people with a hot poker. That doesn't mean it's the most effective way to create an engaging environment. Napoleon once said there are two levers for motivating people--interest and fear. We're always better off using interest, whether it's with a compelling story, a contest, a call to action, or some other more positive attraction.
So, what SHOULD we measure? Here are the 5-7 things that are most vital:
1) Client Satisfaction (on an ongoing basis, not just at the end of our project when it's too late for course corrections)
2) Employee Satisfaction (this gives us insite into the culture we're promoting. A good list is to use the 12 questions
Gallup has determined that employees ask themselves to determine their satisfaction level, as noted by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in First Break All the Rules
. Then, management can be measured by how their employees answer those questions.)
3) Outcomes (progress on current milestone deliverables and interim results as they are delivered ---even if some outcomes can't be measured until the project is technically over. This focuses on the work completed and its tie to real value -- not just time being ticked off on a clock. Also it's best to measure a team's
success against those outcomes as opposed to individuals---or their respective departments---and their discrete objectives. This promotes a team atmosphere in which all collaborate toward common goals.)
4) Cultural Alignment (see www.infotool-online
for a good product for diagnosing cultural alignment by demographic, showing how well everyone is aligned on "the main thing" your organization is trying to establish culturally---the product also suggests remedies and a path forward).
5) Vision Alignment (the best tool I've seen for this is in The Disney Way
and The Disney Way Fieldbook
, by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson. Their VisionAlign model, based on practices taught at the Disney University, is a matrix, listing Vision/Mission key points on the left side, and Core Strengths, Values, Objectives, and Stakeholder groups across the top. The columns are mapped to the Vision/Mission points via correlation indicators indicating a fit, potential fit, or area of concern.)
.... And for the more ROI conscious...
6) Total Cost of Ownership (not just the cost of the project. This would include ongoing maintenance, support, etc., at least 3-5 years out, or for the expected life of the product)
7) Total Value of Ownership (including tangible and intangible benefits, and potential long-term and indirect benefits. Accountants and financial types hate this, and there's no magic formula for it, but to ignore it completely is shortsighted.)
One thing is for sure -- continuing to measure project success in terms of on-time, on-budget, and meets specs is taking a very limited view of what success really is. It's time we redefine it.
I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this, and other items worth measuring that keep our focus on real client value and employee engagement.
Labels: measure, metrics, sopm