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Using Performance Metrics to Do More with Less
A 7-Step Action Plan for Operations Manager

by Maria Ford, www.pureshare.comWednesday, April 1, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Management through Metrics: Available Tools

Completing this 7-Step action plan for one key operational area is the first step toward managing an entire department or organization through metrics. The goal is to achieve an “answers-on-demand” management model in which it is possible for any stakeholder to quickly understand the status of key metrics at a glance, and to know what action to take in a timely manner.

This approach is designed specifically for day-to-day management and operations because the focus is on current status and action. However, within the answers-on-demand model it is also possible to conduct both rear-view analysis and forward-looking planning.

Managers already have a variety of tools that they can continue to use to evolve toward management through metrics. These include:

Spreadsheets

Managers are generally experienced at using spreadsheets based on traditional reporting processes. Reorganize your spreadsheets using the new model presented in this paper. While spreadsheets and reports are best for data consolidation, analysis and after-the-fact summary views, organizing the information they contain into the three operational buckets buckets, using prioritized and contextual metrics, and providing audience-specific presentations will improve your existing processes and the value you get out of spreadsheets.

Presentation slides

This is often the most visual tool that managers have at their disposal for presenting high-level performance metrics information, particularly to executives. Using the metrics organization and visual presentation guidelines provided in this paper will dramatically improve the effectiveness of your status presentations.

Intranet sites

Managing through metrics and an answers-on-demand model require that metrics be shared amongst stakeholder groups. We recommend that you post your metrics where all stakeholders can see and access them – this helps unite everyone around the same view of the information. When stakeholders can proactively access useful, meaningful, at-a-glance metrics, meetings become dramatically more productive, with less time spent on analysis of complicated spreadsheets and reports, and more time spent on addressing the most important issues and actions.

Dashboards

Most enterprise systems such as business intelligence systems today will include dashboards. These are visual renderings of selected aspects of the data that the system contains. You should be able to work with your database or reporting administrator to manipulate those displays using the best practices outlined in this report. Dashboards are limited in their scope because they can only pull data from a single system – but in many cases these will be valuable when designed properly and posted publicly.

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