The Power of Meaningful Measurement

By Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer and Systems Guy, Great Systems

How meaningful are your measurement systems?

All organizations have some form of measurement system in place, but all too often, they are using the wrong measures to measure the wrong things. Worse yet, the measurement system often serves as a hammer. Bad numbers mean punishment for someone – I want names!

This book is designed to help you begin to put a more meaningful measurement system in place in your organization. Thirty years of experimentation, research, application and improvement has helped Kevin McManus identify, and build into this book, a variety of key measurement system best practices and strategies to help you create a leaner, more value added measurement system.

One objective of this book is to improve your use of leading ratios instead of lagging counts to analyze performance at the process level – where real improvement gains can be made. Another objective lies in learning to use scorecards to help ensure your measurement system is balanced, and meaningful goals to help engage and motivate your teams. Working through the book’s multiple worksheets and exercises with your team will help you achieve these, and other, objectives. How meaningful is your measurement system?

How can this measurement book help you?

The concepts and tools in this book focus on how to (1) define a meaningful set of vital signs for each key process, (2) use scorecards at the process level to help drive a balanced measurement focus, (3) identify engaging and motivating goals, and (4) recognize team performance for goal achievement.

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Does this have to be a system-wide measurement initiative?

No – even a single workgroup can benefit from using these measurement tools and discussing the concepts amongst themselves. Most groups need to gain clarity about what their key performance areas, processes, and measurement vital signs are. They need to know which of these areas are the most important to focus on. The tools in this book, like others that I have created, are designed to help organize your thoughts, create dialogue between team members, and stimulate systems change. To get the maximum benefit from this book, a system-wide initiative is needed. You can improve workgroup performance alone however by simply using these tools.

How do you know this measurement stuff really works?

I created this book to document the actual steps I had taken and the tools I had developed in multiple organizations to put more effective and meaningful measurement systems in place. I learned what works and what did not through experimentation. What exists in the book today is not what I started out with. That’s good, because my learning efforts helped me identify easier ways to accomplish the same goals and provided me with the insight necessary to explain how the process works in a much clearer manner.

I have also presented full day, half day, and one hour workshops on this topic to a variety of groups. With each presentation I learned how to explain the process more clearly, how to improve the tools so that they are easier to use, and how streamline the process so that each step required is more value added then it had been. This process works, even if you modify my work and put your own version of the process in place.

Keep improving! Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer and Systems Guy, Great Systems

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Would you be interested in my “Vital Signs, Scorecards, and Goals” measurement workshop?

Would you like to make high impact, meaningful changes to your measurement system in just a matter of weeks? If so, consider holding a “Vital Signs, Scorecards, and Goals” workshop for your company. You can initiate the on-site workshop setup process by sending me a e-mail at indicating which workshop you would like to bring into your facility. I will then work with a contact person from your location to complete the course registration process and arrange the workshop logistics. More importantly, we will work with you to customize the workshop so it meets the specific needs that you have.

On-site workshop costs vary with company and team size. Workshop costs include (1) training materials, (2) a follow-up action plan from the facilitator, and (3) three months of free online consultation. Meals, refreshments, and travel expenses are kept to a minimum. Please contact me if you are interested in a workshop quote.

If a course does not meet your expectations, your participation fee will be refunded.

Who created the book and workshop?

The “Vital Signs, Scorecards, and Goals” book and workshop was created by Kevin McManus, who has served as an industrial engineer, Production Manager, Plant Manager, and Director of Quality during his 38-year business career. Kevin also played a key role in helping to create the ASQ Team Excellence Award process and judges training. He has served as an Examiner, Senior Examiner, and Alumni Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for eighteen years. Kevin writes the monthly Performance Improvement column for Industrial and Systems Engineer magazine. He has also been an international contract trainer for the TapRooT® root cause analysis process for the past 14 years.