140 – Developing a dashboard for performance measurement. A case study – Part 2.

Posted by Colin Weatherby                                                                         810 words

aircraft cockpit

Some time ago I posted on my approach to developing a dashboard for my unit. I set out the ‘performance questions’ that I could need to answer at any point in time as I ‘drive’ my unit. In this post I apply the ideas of Geary Rummler, Alan Brache, Mark Moore and Christopher Stone to determine measures and lead indicators.

The performance questions identified in my first post are intended to get to the heart of the ‘performance logic’ underpinning performance management of the unit. Understanding the performance logic is an idea from Rummler and Brache. Seeing the performance logic as a series of ‘performance questions’ comes from a handy paper by Bernard Marr on the Advanced Performance Institute website, ‘What are key performance questions’  and how they can be used to engage people in dialogue about performance and guide the design of meaningful performance indicators.

Here are my performance questions again:

  1. Are we providing value to our customers and the community?
  2. Are we contributing effectively to achieving organisational goals?
  3. Are we providing value for money?
  4. Are we behaving in ways that are consistent with organisational values?
  5. Are we compliant with the law?
  6. Are we compliant with organisational policies?
  7. Are we having positive or negative unintended consequences?

I looked again at Rummler and Brache’s advice regarding the types of performance measures you should have . They say that a successful performance management requires that the ‘right’ things are measured; that the measures are accurate and meaningful; that measures are integrated; and that there is a way to turn measurement information into management action. Three types of measures are recommended.

  1. Regular formal measures against which actual performance information is gathered either continuously or periodically, depending on requirements.
  2. Regular informal measures in which performance information is gathered periodically using the ‘back of an envelope’.
  3. Irregular measures used when there is a ‘special’ situation, for example a key indicator is off track, until the situation is resolved, when measurement will stop.

Below are the questions with the intended service outcome for each, and the proposed measures and lead indicators.

Performance question Service outcome Measure Lead indicator
1. Are we providing value to our customers and the community? provide expected service convenience complaints about registering service requests
timeliness customer service requests completed on time
purpose fulfilled complaints about expected service not delivered
2. Are we contributing effectively to achieving organisational goals? meet commitments to customers Council Plan actions completed monthly/quarterly review results
internal audit actions completed monthly/quarterly review results
budget expended appropriately monthly/quarterly review results
3. Are we providing value for money? optimise operations resources used efficiently $/unit work, staff/unit output
resources used for the right work evaluation of alternative service delivery
finding new ways to fill needs evaluation of need for service
4. Are we behaving in ways that are consistent with organisational values? behave appropriately performance management issues number and type of PM issues
5. Are we compliant with the law? uphold the law Road Management Plan compliance monthly measurement against intervention levels
6. Are we compliant with organisational policies? be good corporate citizen procurement compliance # or % compliant purchases
recruitment compliance # or % compliant recruitments
OHS compliance # or % compliant audit actions
contractor management compliance # or % compliant actions
7. Are we having positive or negative unintended consequences? be aware of unplanned impacts we have any feedback on performance that is exceptional letters of congratulations or complaint, petitions, media coverage, councillor questions

My unit dashboard is intended to do just what a car dashboard does – i.e. tell me if the car is operating correctly and safe to continue driving (functioning properly), that I am travelling within the speed limits (law), and how much fuel (resources) I have available.

It is not intended to tell me that I have the right vehicle to get there or that I have made a good choice of destination or that I have chosen the shortest/fastest/most direct route or that I am going in the right direction or that a major engine component is going to fail soon. Measurement of those performance criteria will come through evaluation my vehicle choice, trip planning, navigation, and engine assessment at periodic intervals. The dashboard might lead you to investigate and measure some of those criteria.

If you keep ending up at the wrong destination or it takes much longer than anticipated to get there or you find that you need 4WD for the road conditions or you have frequent break downs, you will start to develop other measures of performance. But they won’t be on your dashboard under constant scrutiny.

In the next post I will pick the performance questions, measures and indicators relevant to my dashboard – the performance information that I need in real time to be able to drive my unit.

Marr, Bernard 2010. ‘What are key performance questions?’

Moore, Mark H. 2013 ‘Recognising Public Value’.

Rummler, Geary A., and Brache, Alan P. 1995. Improving Performance – How to Manage the White Space on the Organisation Chart.

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