Measuring the value of KM David Gurteen Gurteen Knowledge www.gurteen.com
Take a look at the many things you need to think about when ‘measuring’ anything but in particular KM
Look at the role of rewards in motivating people
Create measures, set targets, reward people when they meet them!
Two things can be measured
Measure the knowledge of an organization
Measure outcomes of ‘knowledge in action’
Say a KM initiative
My interest is in outcomes – demonstrating the value of a KM initiative
The value of knowledge is contextual!
You can have all the knowledge in the world and still do nothing with it
Some considerations when measuring things!
Beware the word “Measure”
Beware the word “measure”!
Other words: performance indicator, metric, ROI
Performance indicator is usually best
Measures and metrics imply an exactness that is usually not achievable
Its ok 'to measure' but you don't create 'a measure‘ but an ‘indicator’
Could be for one of several purposes
To conform to laws or regulations
To deliver on a promise or agreement
To meet a service level agreement
To justify your existence
To enforce performance
You have been told to
To prove to yourselves you are not wasting time
To provide feedback that facilitates learning
Keep asking the question why!
What are your real objectives and are measurements the best way of achieving them?
Don’t measure for its own sake!
Beware not measuring
Your manager may not have asked for measures
But when the going gets touch you had better be able to justify your existence
Change of Management!!
Your manager’s manager may have different ideas
When cuts have to be made – KM is high on the list! (KM means Kill Me!)
Plan to measure before you start
You should plan to measure before you start a project or initiative- not after
What you measure and how you measure will affect how you do things!!
Too often Knowledge Managers don’t plan to measure up front!
There are multiple stakeholders
Multiple stakeholders will 'measure' you or want to see different measurements from you depending on their perspective
you know what the right measures are. Ask your stakeholders!
they will tell the truth or measure you by the measures you have agreed to provide them
You need to understand what is important to them
At the end of the day you will probably be measured on their 'gut feel‘ (How might you influence this!)
Sell & measure on business outcomes
Sell & measure on what's in it for them
Two types of measure
There are two types of measure
you can measure activity
or you can measure business outcomes
Business outcomes are best by FAR
Setting up say 10 communities of practice is an outcome but is NOT a business outcome
Business outcomes: increased revenue; decreased cost; improved bid to win ratio
Focus on Outcomes not Activities
Too often we measure activity rather than outcome
And we try to measure & justify KM initiatives on activity rather then outcome
Sometimes activity is the only proxy we have but too often we focus on activities at the expense of outcomes
Examples of Measure of Activity
Number of documents captured in a database
Number of times a document is read
Number of meetings held
Number of active communities of practice
Time taken to complete a task
Examples of Measure of Outcome
Bid to win ratio
Reduced development time
Reduced staff turn over
Percentage of customers happy with service according to customer satisfaction survey
Beware of Targets
People are often given ‘targets’ by which they are ‘measured’
Often a command & control way of trying to force people to change
All imposed measures or targets will be gamed
They rarely work well
Targets need to be agreed and bought into
Examples of Poor Measures/Targets
First piece of baggage should arrive in arrival hall within 10 minutes of plane touching down
Patients when booking an appointment should not have to wait more than 3 days to see their doctor
In-patients in A&E should be seen by someone within 30 minutes of arrival
General Rule of Measurement
Any measure that is based on a simple metric such as a number or time interval is probably a bad one as it can be too easily “gamed”
too simple to reflect the complexity - the multidimensional & contextual aspects of life
a simple ‘satisfaction survey’ that measure ‘customer perception’ is better
difficult to game ‘perception’
Some things cannot be measured
You cannot correlate cause & effect in the complex domain
You cannot say this was an outcome of my activity
And thus things cannot be directly measured
Cannot measure the new
If doing something new
Cannot plan to measure
As unsure of the outcomes
Act on gut feel
Can only measure in retrospect
Measures distort behaviour
and have unintended and unimagined side-effects
always detrimental to the whole!
Outcome based measures
Activity based measures
Focused on outcomes
Surveys and polls
Can provide numbers
To provide feedback to facilitate learning
NOT for control or conformance
Must be developed, owned and bought into by the people involved otherwise they will be ‘gamed’
They are personal learning tools!
When a measure becomes an objective it ceases to be a good measure!
What and How?
Only now think about what you are going measure and how you plan to do it!!
Don’t reward people!
Rewarding people for meeting targets is detrimental to
Pride in work
Leads to gaming
What about sales?
Highly quantifiable outcome
But even then has side-effects
Here is what Alfie Kohn has to say about rewards To the best of my knowledge, no controlled scientific study has ever found a long-term enhancement of the quality of work as a result of any reward system http:// www.alfiekohn.org
Threats & coercion destroy motivation and so do rewards
Rewards are manipulative
“ Do this and you will get that” is not much different to “Do this else here is what will happen to you”
When people do not get the reward they hoped for they feel punished
The more desirable the reward the more demoralizing it is to miss out
Rewards rupture relations
Excellence depends on teamwork
Rewards destroy cooperation
Especially if scarce or valuable
Incentive driven employees will not ask for help from their manager when they need it
They will conceal problems from their manager to appear infinitely competent
Rewards ignore reasons
To solve problems people must understand the causes
They ignore the complexities of the problems
Each situation calls for a different response
Rewards tend to blindly promote a single solution
Rewards deter risk-taking
People are less likely to take risks; to explore possibilities; to play hunches
The No. 1 casualty of rewards is creativity
Rewards undermine interest
Loving what you do is a more powerful motivator than any goody including money
Rewards are controlling!
If people focus on getting a reward they tend to feel their work is no longer freely chosen and directed by them
If they have to bribe me to do it - it must be something I don’t want to do!
Beware of measures!
Measure outcomes not activities
Chose measures that can not be easily gamed
Measures are best as learning tools
Don’t reward outside the normal ‘appraisal system’
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www.gurteen.com David Gurteen Gurteen Knowledge United Kingdom Tel: +44 1252 812 878 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org