Metrics serve as tools to measure organizational outputs against planned targets based on goals and objectives. They also serve as monitoring tools since they are supposed to generate documentation containing operating results. The fact is, metrics are not limited to the most obvious key performance indicators of businesses, like production, sales, or human resource. Management process is perhaps even more important than the aforementioned areas since without effective process or communication flow, it is doubtful whether anything can be accomplished at all. In this context, it is safe to say that metrics objectives should focus on measuring outputs as well as the efficiency of management process.
Measuring the effectiveness of plans is much easier to accomplish when implementation is already on-going. A month or two, depending on the kind of business the organizations is engaged in, will surely be enough to tell whether the plan is good or not; that is, assuming that the metrics themselves are good.
How does one judge the quality of metrics when there are still no results to judge it with? Obviously, the process observed in the formulation of the metrics should provide an idea of how well the metrics will measure up when plans are finally put into operation. Basic in coming up with effective metrics is not forgetting what metrics are supposed to do – measure and monitor the relevance of goals, objectives, plans, strategies, and all related implementation processes. One thing that management level employees must always bear in mind is that no goal or plan can be viable without being based on actual or concrete realities found in the business environment. It is clear that research must be done and it must be comprehensive enough in order to cover all significant aspects of business operations.
Of course, managers tend to be overly optimistic in their estimations of outputs. It is vital at the planning stage to carefully look at the viability of strategies and activities that are meant to address specific issues or attain specific results. In other words, the how question must be fully explained and supported by quantitative and qualitative data taken from valid research.
How metrics are developed is part of the management process metrics. This simply means that preparation of plans and their appropriate metrics must follow a proven procedure. Gathering all the relevant facts and data before sitting down to discuss and finalize a plan is a logical first step. The second is getting people involved. It is not advisable to plan for others. It is impossible to guess accurately what others are capable of or are willing to do.
Providing management with constant flow of useful information on how things are going on with implementation is, as already pointed, another very important objective. The management process metrics must provide a system where implementation developments are tracked and reported to people who have need of them. Naturally, one cannot read anything from plans that are all generalities, as proposing to raise employee productivity by conducting a training program. The HRD department might do just that – conduct training – but the outputs of such must be clear enough that they can be adjudged as successful or not. This is a sad case of not understanding what metrics are supposed to accomplish.
Metrics objectives can be lumped in two groups. The first will be involved in establishing effective measures of all organizational intentions – goals, plans, objectives – and implementation strategies and activities. The second will involve measuring management process efficiency; without which, all intentions will be largely useless.