Developing Metrics that Demonstrate the Value of Technical Communications

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  • After moving to the next slide, ask for a show of hands: How many people in the room are…? Managers Writers Editors PMs Other Ask for another show of hands: How many of you have…? Planned for metrics Tracked metrics Reported metrics up the chain of command
  • Metrics are quantitative, measurable
  • So, whether technical communications cost a lot or a little, you might be called upon to demonstrate their value. Or you might want to pitch a tech comms project, in which case you’ll need to be able to project the value of the effort.
  • Too much text here…two slides?
  • Same, too much text--,aybe just remove the bullets, add pictures and put bullets in a handout.
  • For the math challenged, like me…
  • Love the camel!!
  • Using the same case study, calculate the ROI. Document your assumptions. Choose a group leader to present your ROI.
  • Developing Metrics that Demonstrate the Value of Technical Communications

    1. 1. May 2011 Developing Metrics that Demonstrate the Value of Technical Communications Vic Passion
    2. 2. <ul><li>What are metrics? </li></ul><ul><li>Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>The value of the baseline </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing your metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Calculating ROI </li></ul><ul><li>Wrap-up </li></ul>What we’ll cover …
    3. 3. <ul><li>Measures to demonstrate the value of technical communications </li></ul>What are metrics? Let’s explore why metrics are so important…
    4. 4. <ul><li>Depends on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amount and complexity of content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Type and number of deliverables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frequency of updates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Translation requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amount of customization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools and techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Format of source material </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other factors </li></ul></ul>What do technical communications cost?
    5. 5. <ul><li>What are metrics? </li></ul><ul><li>Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>The value of the baseline </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing your metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Calculating ROI </li></ul><ul><li>Wrap-up </li></ul>What we’ll cover …
    6. 6. Source: *Kirkpatrick, Donald L, Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation and objectives 4. Results 3. Transfer 2. Learning 1. Reactions Performance-based objectives Satisfaction Job task performance Enterprise, division, and departmental objectives
    7. 7. Who wants to know the results? 4. Results 3. Transfer 2. Learning 1. Reactions Supervisors, line managers Technical communications managers Managers Department managers, execs, CEO
    8. 8. <ul><li>A transit provider has unacceptable outages for its subway escalators and elevators. Management has designated documentation funds to help reduce time out of operation. What would you measure for at each level? </li></ul>Business case 4. Results 3. Transfer 2. Learning 1. Reactions
    9. 9. <ul><li>What are metrics? </li></ul><ul><li>Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>The value of the baseline </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing your metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Calculating ROI </li></ul><ul><li>Wrap-up </li></ul>What we’ll cover …
    10. 10. <ul><li>Compelling metrics show the delta between the baseline and the post-documentation data </li></ul>The value of the baseline Documentation and website launched in Q3
    11. 11. <ul><li>Build all deliverables around what you want end users to be able to do , integrated with corporate strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Define what they can do before the release—the baseline </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of errors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revenue generated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orders processed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stock shipped </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stock returned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Etc. </li></ul></ul>The ABCs of performance-based metrics
    12. 12. <ul><li>You get what you measure </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to capture… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance after release (but what was it before?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance of groups with most access to documentation vs. groups with least access (but what about complexity of tasks?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improvement/degradation over time (but what about upgrades?) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Characteristics of good metrics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A baseline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Near-term benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaningful, tangible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Careful analysis </li></ul></ul>Choosing the right metrics
    13. 13. <ul><li>What are metrics? </li></ul><ul><li>Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>The value of the baseline </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing your metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Calculating ROI </li></ul><ul><li>Wrap-up </li></ul>What we’ll cover …
    14. 14. <ul><li>Break into groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Read your case study and decide what you would measure to build a compelling case . </li></ul><ul><li>Choose a group leader to present your measures. </li></ul>Building a compelling case
    15. 15. Business cases #1: After three severe injuries to machine operators, a national paper products company requires all machine operators and managers to receive training on an updated user’s guide. #2: A technology company delivers training to its employees and partners on a new enterprise software system for quoting and ordering. #3: After a tax season in which the software company is unable to keep up with support calls, the company launches an online knowledge base. #4: After getting feedback from clients and suppliers that translated materials and updates to documentation are taking too long, an international online retailer implements single sourcing. 10 mins
    16. 16. Wrap-Up
    17. 17. <ul><li>What are metrics? </li></ul><ul><li>Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>The value of the baseline </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing your metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Calculating ROI </li></ul><ul><li>Wrap-up </li></ul>What we’ll cover …
    18. 18. Calculating ROI Example: Reduce transit technician repair time by 30 minutes per repair 30 min x $100/hour = $50 $50 x 1,500 repairs per year = $75,000 Cost of documentation = $50,000 (Benefit – Cost)/Cost = ROI ($75,000-$50,000)= $25,000 savings $25,000/$50,000 investment = 50% ROI
    19. 19. <ul><ul><li>Use conservative assumptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on only one or two compelling metrics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep it simple </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Document your assumptions </li></ul></ul>Building a case for a technical communications program
    20. 20. <ul><li>Break into the same groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Using the same case study, calculate the ROI. </li></ul><ul><li>Document your assumptions. </li></ul><ul><li>Choose a group leader to present your ROI. </li></ul>Calculating ROI
    21. 21. Business cases #1: After three severe injuries to machine operators, a national paper products company requires all machine operators and managers to receive training on an updated user’s guide. #2: A technology company delivers training to its employees and partners on a new enterprise software system for quoting and ordering. #3: After a tax season in which the software company is unable to keep up with support calls, the company launches an online knowledge base. #4: After getting feedback from clients and suppliers that translated materials and updates to documentation are taking too long, an international online retailer implements single sourcing. 15 mins
    22. 22. Wrap-Up
    23. 23. <ul><li>Don’t take your budget for granted </li></ul><ul><li>Use higher levels of evaluation to speak to execs in your organization </li></ul><ul><li>Capture the baseline before measuring </li></ul><ul><li>Capture meaningful, tangible metrics with near-term benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Estimate proposed ROI by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Documenting your assumptions clearly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using conservative assumptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focusing on only one or two compelling metrics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping it simple </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Benefit – Cost)/Cost = ROI </li></ul>Key points to take home
    24. 24. Vic Passion TechProse Walnut Creek, CA, USA 925.956.4231 [email_address] Your turn!
    25. 25. Helping clients navigate change www.techprose.com
    26. 26. Backup
    27. 27. Business case #1 After three severe injuries to machine operators, a national paper products company requires all machine operators and managers to receive training on an updated users guide. <ul><li>Goals: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fewer lawsuits against the company this year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower employee absenteeism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower insurance costs </li></ul></ul>
    28. 28. Business case #2 A technology company delivers training to its employees and partners on a new enterprise software system for quoting and ordering. <ul><li>Goals: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More efficient use of employee and partner time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better retention of partners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to see customers with expiring contracts </li></ul></ul>
    29. 29. Business case #3 After a tax season in which the software company is unable to keep up with support calls, the company launches an online knowledge base. <ul><li>Goals: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faster response time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better retention of end users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower technical support costs </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. Business case #4 After hearing from clients and suppliers that translated materials and updates to documentation take too long, an international online retailer implements single sourcing. Goals: <ul><ul><li>Shorter release cycle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better retention of end users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower technical support costs </li></ul></ul>

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