Meaningful Measures: Why size (and volume) doesn't matter


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CLA Webinar presentation from November 2013

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  • Need to connect all data – usage stats, outcomesWhat is usage telling you? Anything?Percentage of community that are card holders, borrowers, e-resource users – what assumptions do we need to make (if 90K are borrowing, can we assume that 100K are using the facilities?)What is the cost of the usage?
  • There is lots of work ongoing in the area of measurement. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, we looked at the various measurement tools & systems in place &what we can learn from these. These included the traditional metrics of usage or activity-based statistics,
  • Press the easy button
  • Problem is these demonstrate what we do, -- or the “impact” on the library, NOT the impact on clients or patrons – what do circ stats or website hits say? – they indicate an effect on the library, not on the communityPeaks?Dips?Switches? - of services – or of certain client groups? Using select services more? Less? Recently on listserv DigLib – story in newspaper about “library services – it’s through the roof” – about a library’s website patron logon’s – going from 770,000 in 2005 to 930,000 in 2006 – library expects this to go over a million by 2008 – ppl from 20 states, Cdn provinces & Asia & Australia -- & that reference questions are way down & continue to fall – that they attritube this to the fact that the info is on the webNow – is that a good metric or a dangerous metric? Can’t judge unless u know what they are trying to achieve
  • What measures do you currently keep?List out into 3 columns
  • To initiate ideas and provide a framework for developing a meaningful measurement system that focuses on your value, and enables strong planning & decision-making for you, your function and all employees.Having said that, the overall objective for this course is to provide a blue-print for you to use in designing your measurement system. Every library – every information center - is different and the measurement systems for each should reflect the individual environment and situation. It would be so ideal if a course could tell you exactly what to do in your organization. But, it can’t. What it can do is guide you through the necessary steps to formulating a robust, reliable, reasonable and meaningful plan for measuring your value.The definition of a meaningful measurement system is that it demonstrates value that is acknowledged by clients & stakeholders, Is easily communicated, & it facilitates planning & decision-making.The purpose of all courses – not just this one – is to give you a different way of viewing measures and some ideas – to look at what other organizations are doing & let you decide what seems right for you.
  • There are 2 performance measurement systems that I know of that fit this framework, the Balanced Scorecard and the Logic Model.
  • This is where u spend the most time – requires conversations with councillors, local government “superiors”, community “partners” – basically stakeholders – stake or support?These stakeholders use the following indicators to measure their progress:In our environment, it is critical that we measure:Ask yourself, in our environment, what is it critical for us to measure? What “counts”?What are the overall goals and objectives?This is where you invest the most timeRequires conversations with superiors, colleagues in other functions & clients, constituentsWho are your stakeholders? That may not be as obvious an answer as you think. There may be 1 or a small group of people who determine your budget. Who influences these people? Is there a council, committee that impacts those decisions? Who’s on them? Who are the key opinion leaders in your organization?It’s never too early in any process to envisage how you’ll communicate the results
  • Test these goals & objectives with your stakeholdersDiscuss these with staff to ensure their understanding are in keeping with your purpose & will aid with planning & decisions
  • Clearly define this alignment by articulating & documenting your goals & objectivesClarify how these contribute towards your stakeholders’ objectives & desired outcomesTest these goals & objectives with your stakeholdersStaff need to be involved too – preferably in the first stage in understanding the context, but if that’s not possible, then certainly at this stage; they need to understand the goals & objectives both to ensure they are in keeping with where your organization is headed, and because their own personal objectives will flow from your organizational objectives – all employees need to be working towards these objectives to aid with planning & decisions - & to keep everyone pulling in the same direction
  • Another finding of the OCLC report was that stakeholders are more supportive of the library if they see the library as a transformational force rather than as source of information. We have shifted from reporting numbers and activities to measuring the difference we actually make. How? Say hello to our friend the logic model
  • Try to balance the qualitative & quantitativeBe careful to limit key measures to 4 or 5In balanced scorecard, organizations focus on about 4 measures for each of the four perspectives
  • Try to balance the qualitative & quantitativeBe careful to limit key measures to 4 or 5In balanced scorecard, organizations focus on about 4 measures for each of the four perspectives
  • Try to balance the qualitative & quantitativeBe careful to limit key measures to 4 or 5In balanced scorecard, organizations focus on about 4 measures for each of the four perspectives
  • And then…you need to start collecting data We use the term ‘manage’ the collection because it is more than just collecting the data for your measures – you need a collection schedule
  • One of the best things to do here is to ask people outside the information function or library to discuss the data with you; how do they see it? What does it tell them?
  • If your goals & objectives are meaningful for stakeholders, your measures will be tooIf your goals & objectives are meaningful for your planning & decision-making, your measures will be indispensableWe talked a few minutes ago about the need to think about how you’ll communicate the measures when you are designing the systemWill you do quarterly stewardship reviews? Bi-annual? Annual? How will you keep on the radar screen of key stakeholders? Presentations? Reports? Short conversations?
  • Meaningful Measures: Why size (and volume) doesn't matter

    1. 1. Rebecca Jones, MLS Rebecca Jones, MLS
    2. 2. Underlying Assumptions • Few libraries have a “culture of assessment”  Difficult and complex  Most measures indicate past performance  No cause-and-effect relationship between measures  Performance measures quantitative, but library outcomes are largely qualitative Measuring for Results: The Dimensions of Public Library Effectiveness Joe Matthews, 2004
    3. 3. Underlying Assumptions • Identifying & illustrating value depends on conversations with your stakeholders – The first conversation shouldn’t be when measures are presented • “More” isn’t necessarily better – In fact, “more” clouds the issue and the message “Not everything that counts can be counted & not everything that can be counted counts.” - Einstein
    4. 4. Three types of measures Performance or Value Operational Satisfaction
    5. 5. Measures…  are, by definition, based on a “beginning” or monitor results against an agreed-to objective or value
    6. 6. Questions driving measures • What’s the library or information centre doing? • How much is it doing? • How well is it doing it? • Who is it doing it for? • What positive impact is the service having for them? What action will you take as a result of knowing this?
    7. 7. Usage Statistics • We’ve long tracked “how much” • We also need to look at differences: • Peaks? • Dips? • Switches? • What are these statistics really telling us? – And not? • Are they highlighting where we should dig deeper?
    8. 8. Customer Satisfaction • Tends to focus on existing products and/or services • Usually measured through surveys
    9. 9. The performance question
    10. 10. Framework Page 1 What measures do you keep?
    11. 11. Meaningful performance measures • Matter to you & to your stakeholders • Are conveyed in the stakeholders’ language • Demonstrate that the service makes a difference • Focus attention on what is most important for the organization • Are critical for managing, planning & decision-making • Are organization-dependent • Connect strategic directives to employees
    12. 12. • No one magic measure • Successful organizations: • clarity of purpose • understand their culture • performance measurement system that fits that culture • “Value” is dynamic, economic , psychological & relative to alternatives Learning from others
    13. 13. Framework Page 2 Understand the Context Align Strategies & Objectives Communicate Results Translate Data into Outcomes & Impacts Identify Services & Programs Manage Measurement Data Define Measures
    14. 14. Understand the Context
    15. 15. Know the context and contextors How is value defined, measu red, and communicated? Name your stakeholders How do they measure their progress?
    16. 16.  Healthy living advocate Councilor Good Cause  Endorses physical activities  Spend for bike lanes, pools, rinks, etc  The library is just a community centre anyway  Says more people are impacted by his stuff than by the library Board Member: Ms. Expert  Does reconnaissance work on other library systems and reports back to Board  May not have a good grasp on what libraries do  Feels money is no object when it comes to something she sees as a trend  Wants to compete in the library industry
    17. 17. The Provost of Doom  Libraries days are numbered  Libraries aren’t relevant  Everyone has computers and internet  need information? Just google it  Starbucks has wireless  With eBooks and research online believes facilities can be made smaller Dean of Humanities Dr. Kee Paper  Influential in university & broader academic circles  Focus on research  Has deep seated beliefs in traditional library services  Quiet  No technology  Libraries are institutions for reading & research
    18. 18. Framework Page 3 Start with Stakeholders 1. Critical that you understand the context in which the measures are considered. In your organization, how is value defined, measured and conveyed? 2. Who are the stakeholders who must understand the value of your services? Name Position How do they Goals & measure objectives their progress? What do we know about them? What type of stakeholder are they? What do they know about our services?
    19. 19. Logic Model • Popular in non-profit sector & increasingly in libraries and culture • Based on “logical links” cause & effect • Logical links: – IF teens believe that the Library sees them as valuable, equal community members & takes their needs seriously THEN teens are more likely to engage in discussions & programs in the Library that will positively impact their studies & their lives – IF the information professional ensures current, relevant content is easily available on employees’ desktops THEN the organization will save $X in lost “hunt” time
    20. 20. Framework Page 4 It’s logical that INPUT OUTPUT OUTCOME IMPACT resource perspective operational perspective user perspective stakeholder perspective
    21. 21. INPUT Resource Perspective OUTPUT Operational Perspective Equipment Space Supplies Funding Staff Training module Program Report # of Program Attendees # of Programs Held
    22. 22. OUTCOME User Perspective Increased skill Know-how or knowthat Change in status Change in behaviour or attitude IMPACT Stakeholder Perspective Lower dropout rates Increased employment levels Increased recovery rates
    23. 23. Start with the end in mind Refocus from the activity to the impact
    24. 24. Align Strategies & Objectives
    25. 25. Align Strategies and Objectives Stakeholder’s Goals & Objectives Your Goals & Objectives: How they Contribute Provide excellent clinical care Support the development of procedures and policies relating to clinical care Increased research grants Support the research process Newcomers contributing to the community economically Equip newcomers with links to language, literacy, employment and social supports
    26. 26. Framework Page 5 Top Align objectives • Articulate & document your goals & objectives What are you trying to accomplish? • Clarify how these contribute towards your stakeholders’ objectives & desired outcomes
    27. 27. Identify Services & Programs
    28. 28. Framework Page 5 Bottom Identify Services  What services, programs or products contribute to your realizing an objective? Stakeholder Goals & Objectives Your Goals & Objectives Your Services
    29. 29. Academic Example Input One liaison librarian Output Faculty research support for a Grant Application Outcome Completed application submitted on time Impact Grant dollars received by faculty. Faculty member is able to hire 2 grad students to conduct research: increased university reputation, a number of articles are submitted and accepted by academic journals, increased citations for faculty member, university increases visibility.
    30. 30. Public Library Example Input -Funding -Staffing -Supplies =$10,000 to develop learning place programs Output 10 new programs each offered 5 times per year Outcome Number of program registrations increased by 25% year to year. 1,600 students ages 6-10 completed learning program Impact Children attending programs are able to maintain the skills taught in school verified by parent follow-up. Library recognized for helping children develop and maintain literacy skills. Board of Education partnership & recognition based on improvements in standardized testing results.
    31. 31. Government Example Input $100K resource budget Output 2500 resources utilized Outcome Resources used by 75% of employees in policy development Impact Usage enabled policy development to: 1. Eliminate department-specific resource purchases saving the organization $35K 2. Reduce policy duplication or “blind-sides” by at least 25% (as reported during policy debriefings)
    32. 32. Goal Objectives Objectives Activities or services Activities or services Outputs Logical flow Outputs Immediate Outcomes Long-term Outcomes Immediate Outcomes Objectives
    33. 33. Define Measures
    34. 34. Define Success  What will success look like?  How will you track progress towards meeting goals?  What indicators or measures will you use?  Qualitative? Quantitative?  What data needs to be collected? How?  Keep it key  Keep it simple  Be practical  Don’t get mired – or overwork frontline staff
    35. 35. Framework Page 6 Left Service Impact Inputs Person power, money, content, etc. Activity What you do Outputs What the activity produces Outcomes How the client uses the output Impact What changes for the client Outcome Measures Impact Measures
    36. 36. Define Outcomes and Impact  What will success look like?  And how will you “get” there? INPUT OUTPUT OUTCOME IMPACT
    37. 37. Define Outcomes and Impact OUTCOME User Perspective Increased skill Know-how or know-that Change in status Change in behaviour or attitude IMPACT Stakeholder Perspective Lower dropout rates Increased employment levels Increased recovery rates
    38. 38. Define measures by success being sought Inputs Person power, money, content, etc. Activity What you do Outcomes How the client uses the output Outputs What the activity produces Impact What changes for the client
    39. 39. Framework Page 6 Bottom So – what data will you need to collect? What data or measures do you What data or measures do you to collect to collect about Outcomes? about Impact?
    40. 40. Manage Measurement Data
    41. 41. Framework Page 7 Manage the data • Do it • Determine a collection schedule • Work out agreements with other departments that have needed data • Are you currently collecting data or indicators that are no longer relevant? • How long do you need to keep data? • Who is responsible?
    42. 42. Translate Data into Outcomes & Impacts
    43. 43. Framework Page 8 Bottom Interpret data  So... What?  What does the data say? What doesn’t it say?  Examine it from various angles  What is the progress towards the goals & objectives?
    44. 44. Communicate Results
    45. 45. Framework Page 8 Communicate results • Actually begins when you are understanding the context • Your message: “we have contributed towards your goals by……” • If your goals & objectives are meaningful for your planning & decision- making, your measures will be indispensable
    46. 46.
    47. 47. The real question How have we impacted your project, work or decisions today?
    48. 48. Thanks! Rebecca Jones With special thanks to... Moe Hosseini-Ara @ Markham Public Library