Performance metrics by department?

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In class today we discussed the advantages and disadvantages between having a single metric(s) defined for a business function vs. each department choosing their own performance metrics for a shared function in the organization.  Which is better?

When each department picks their own metrics for a similar function they may choose one that focuses on their best area or on one they believe focuses on their current strategy or an area they need to work on.  (Is this an advantage or not?)  If each department chooses different metrics are chosen, there is no way to compare performance.  When choosing their own metrics, most departments choose to track inputs and intermediate outputs because they can clearly control them.  Most do not choose a high level output as seen by a customer since they may not be fully responsible for this performance.

If the leadership chooses the functional performance metric, then all groups have the same measuring stick.  Now we can compare organizations with the same high level (30,000-ft-level) performance across groups, in a way the customer views the system.

Many departments choose only metrics within their 100% control and avoid the system metrics that involve other’s performance.  That is why performance metrics should not be chosen by the person being monitored.

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