Expressing value statements with measures

Photo by David TomicA short time ago I wrote about the importance of having a value statement, which is a short statement of the value that a project (or programme or team) is accountable for delivering, and which allows us to measure that value.

But in practice it’s often difficult to have a short statement which also describes the measurement in use. It might be easy for something like “Improve the satisfaction ratings from helpdesk calls” or “Increase the average sale of our bolt-on options”. But it’s sometimes more difficult for things like “Provide more flexible data to our Premium Tier customers” or “Enhance our reputation in the XYZ sector”. Those things are definitely measurable, but expressing it in the value statement it pretty challenging.

That’s why it’s sometimes useful to separate the value statement from how that value is measured. The two statements can be linked by the phrase “…as measured by…”. Sometimes there might be two or three measures—but too many will allow loss of focus.

We might have a value statement of “Provide more flexible data to our premium tier customers” and measure it by the number of dimensions by which they can query our data, and the proportion of our data that returns positive results for each dimension. Or we might have “Enhance our reputation in the XYZ sector” as measured by the number of referrals we get from that sector.

As always with these things, it’s important not to mistake the measure for the value. The measure tells us how much we’ve delivered the value, helps us prioritise activity and decide what counts as sufficient. It would be easy to game the system and improve our measures while not creating any value. So we do want an environment that encourages basic honesty and rewards trust.

Meanwhile, using the “…as measured by…” phrase can be very helpful in creating our useful value statements.

Photo by David Tomic