Benchmarks for Productivity Target-Setting

Posted by Lori Michele Leavitt in ASK Lori! - Seleted Answers | No Comments »

I am working on Productivity Benchmarking for every function and every role in our organization. I have framed Metrics for each and every role so that I can get quantifiable data. I have started framing Factors of Metrics to ensure that the data collected has minimum errors attached to it. My next plan would be that I will start using these Metrics and start benchmarking according to industry standards. My Question: I have been able to get some data for Sales but I am finding it difficult to get data on technical people. So I have couple of questions here. 1. I would like to know the approach I have taken is right or wrong? 2. Whether we have any published data on benchmarking on IT industry or Technical Benchmarking for Individual roles? 3. What would be other ways to set Benchmarks on every functional role?

Lori’s Answer
(Answer shortened)

I love what you are doing. I agree it is a challenge in setting up, and you will face challenges in implementation, which we’ve discussed separately. To keep you moving now…

Plan for many phases with ample testing – mostly through conversation and analysis – as you grow this productivity measurement system.

Note: make sure that each benchmark is a reasonable comparison to your organization AND carefully note the formula used to get to that metric so that you are following exactly the same formula, or
at least accounting for the differences. If you do not know the underlying formula for a benchmark my vote would be to not use it.

You state that sales was pretty easy to quantify (for quantity, I agree, for quality – doing the right things right – I’m not so sure). And you note You are struggling with productivity measures for technical people.

I’m guessing that you have been tasked with completing a matrix… Is it in excel or other spreadsheet?… and have to show something at least for discussion. Based on this assumption and your biggest challenge being measurement of technical personnel productivity, here’s what I’d like you to do:

  1. Take a peek at some of the measures in CIO, Intelligent Enterprise, and Baseline magazines. These are online …and free.
  2. Create measurements that make sense to you. You may decide to toss Industry benchmarks (as impractical for comparison) in exchange For productivity measures that make sense for your organization. I can offer help in this area, should you need it. (here is a quick read that may help you be wary of benchmarks: http://tinyurl.com/6kuslz
  3. Have the organization’s Strategy in hand. (Creating productivity measures without considering what matters most to the organization could end up with limited-to-no support from top management).
  4. Create a list of key indictors as well as outcome measures for productivity. For example related to a technical role: an indicator might be years of experience, % score on a relevant test or a performance eval score/rating related to their ability to ask for help or follow instructions. Outcome measures would include on time and within budget, etc.
  5. Get hold of job descriptions. Use these to test the measures from step 2 by seeing how they align with these job descriptions. (you do this because if the person being measured cannot relate the measure to his/her job, it will not get done)
  6. Now finalize your matrix/DB of productivity measures. You will feel confident because you have a complete picture that makes sense to what people do, and the bottom-line.

Correct this

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