Some project improvements are easier to measure than others. For example, you can count the number of hours saved when you eliminate double data entry. On another hand, improvement in the cycle time for processing a purchase order requires more effort. If your system doesn’t capture the elapse time directly, you would need to deduce it. This would require more effort.
To measure project improvements, there are 3 key steps to set up what is needed.
- Identify the results you need to measure—take a look at the business case for the project and revisit the benefits detailed. These benefits form the basis for measurement requirements.
- Determine what data is needed and where would be a reliable source for the data – it could be straightforward. It is great if data is readily available. Otherwise, work with your team on how best to obtain the required data.
- Understand the assumptions, limitations, and the implications of the results—this is where you need to be clear on how the results should be interpreted. The formula used, data included, even the presentation of the numbers could easily skew the message.
The essence of measuring project improvements is to establish an approach to validate the return on investment. This also ensures that there is accountability for project outcomes.