Tuesday 16 September 2008

Starting at the Top

How do you usually define your benefits and measures?

Many people define measures for each project. This means a lot of individual measures, which may only have meaning for the person who defined them. It means that the workstream lead (the senior responsible officer for delivering one of the organisation's overall strategic objectives) gets a pile of project reports and doesn't really have a way to aggregate tehm and report in summary. And it means that front-line staff and volunteers, and service users, often get fed up with "feeding the beast", collecting seemingly meaningless numbers that they never hear of again.

If alternatively measures are defined at the highest level they can be (typically at workstream or key theme level), then assigned to projects, many of these issues can be overcome.

  1. measures and benefits have to make common sense to people, and it's worth applying a bit of effort when you know the work will be reused

  2. defining the measures (and allowing them to be achieved in more than one way eg for obesity to allow schools to show achievement through numbers in reception year and Year 6, vs obesity programmes showing people losing weight start and end of programme, vs Public Health showing the same thing only measuring obesity in the general population and mortality/ morbidity associated with it) is done once and clearly

  3. projects only measure what is most relevant to their achievement from the existing list of measures

  4. when reporting, the workstream lead can aggregate up the numbers (be sensible, they don't necessarily add together)

This follows on from the last post but then so it should. Let me know if you find it useful

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