What Gets Measured Gets Done

Having considered the 80/20 rule as the first pillar of Value for Money, we will next examine the second pillar, which is Measurement. Measurement of Results is a significant pillar of Value for Money. It is easy to be entirely focused on inputs and ignore results and outcomes. For instance, the Government funds schools based on children enrolment, the Police Force uses estimates to fight crime, and refuse disposals are based always on the aggregate level of waste to be disposed of. But then, funding transactions on the basis of inputs does not necessarily encourage better performance unlike when it is linked to results. When funding is hinged on results, performance becomes obsessing. It is instructive, therefore, those results are always carefully measured. The measurement information of organizations that measure their work results transforms them even when funding is not hinged on results. This is so as seen from the attributes of measurement.

What Gets Measured Gets Done. If you measure activities, people respond to the results obtained, making measurement a call to action, particularly where best achievements are rewarded. The simple act of defining measures helps to enlighten organizations and clarify goals. Defining expected outcomes and benchmarks to measure outcomes make people begin to ask the right questions, redefine problems being solved, and to positively diagnose them.

If you do not measure results, you cannot tell success from failure. It is difficult, particularly in the public sector to tell which program is succeeding and which is failing as there is always no clear definition of outcome objectives. Unlike the private sector that makes decisions of transactions on the basis of profit and loss, decisions in the public sector are always mostly political or subject to other considerations. It is always also unclear were to increase the budget for effectiveness when efforts are to be redoubled and the additional expenditure in most cases ends up in the usual historical drainpipe.

Measuring results and telling success from failure is one thing, seeing success and rewarding it is the ultimate. If you cannot see success, you cannot reward it and productivity will be in jeopardy. The best way to increase productivity is to reward success as not rewarding it is probably rewarding failure. Rewarding success is common sense, and it’s better to make it a common practice if you are not to reward failure.

When you can measure success and clearly see it, you can learn from it. The pursuit of best value entails and implies continuous learning, continuous trial of new things to find out what works and what does not, and thereby learn from cumulative experience. This is the cornerstone of continuous process improvement by taking advantage of lessons learned from measurement through a look-back opportunity approach. The measurement of results is to see success when it is achieved and recorded, learn from it and get feedback on outcomes so that innovation is not stillborn. The greatest opportunities for innovation in business, Peter Drucker counsels, are “unexpected successes”.

If you cannot demonstrate results, you cannot win public support. A government or leadership that cannot demonstrate results attracts great disaffection and dwindling followership. Such governments are considered ineffective and the leadership is touted as lacking in leadership qualities – purpose, direction, and meaning.

Paying attention, therefore, to input and resources as most people do without measurement is a waste of time and brings to mind the two very important things, regarding Measurement in Value for money. Always carefully measure the right thing, price is particularly deceptive, giving no total picture in most cases. For example, categories of costs such as running cost, maintenance, and insurance, among others are not considered in price as normally used. Cost over the product lifetime, technically addressed, “Total Cost of Ownership” is better used. Then, accurate data that may involve further processing may perhaps be required, for example, Cost per Wear of a pair of shoes. Metrics give measures for quantitative assessment commonly used for comparing and tracking performance.

Applying Measurement to transactions will aid you to “Do More with Less by Doing Things Right and Doing the Right Things “You can, applying the Value for Money Principles.

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