All deliverables should be created equal

OK, that title isn’t exactly what this post is about, but I couldn’t resist the echo of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  When I posted on promoting a deliverables-oriented mindset a few weeks ago (here), I started a draft post about project deliverables that don’t get held to the same standard as most product-related deliverables. 

The first group that came to mind were supporting deliverables: training, [added 9 Dec for clarity] organizational change management, etc.   While such deliverables may be tangible, validating the effectiveness of such deliverables is more problematic.  At least in my experience, the tendency in both cases is to focus on production measures (e.g., classes delivered, content uploaded/downloaded) or soft measures such as customer or training satisfaction.

We wouldn’t accept such fuzzy success measures for our solution deliverables, would we?  Have you all see better ways to measure and ensure the effectiveness of such enabling deliverables?  I have a few ideas and experiences, but I’d like to hear from you all first.

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7 Responses

  1. Paul,
    Technical Performance Measures are one mechanism of defining these measures.
    They come in two flavors:
    1. Measures of Effectiveness (MOE) – are quantitative measures that give some insight into how effectively a product or service is performing.
    2. Measures of Performance (MOP) – are qualitative or quantitative measures of system capabilities or characteristics.

    MOPs are components, or subsets, of MOEs; i.e., the “degree–to–which” a system performs is one of a number of possible measures of “how well” a system’s task is accomplished.

  2. Hi Glen,
    The challenge for me is defining meaningful MOE and MOP for support deliverables. The measures we typically see validate that the change communications or training sessions were completed and/or people are happy with what was delivered. IMO, such measures don’t correlate with project effectiveness.

  3. Generally speaking, three important dimensions of quality are completeness, correctness and consistency. Trying to find a way to measure these aspects for supporting project deliverables is an excellent way to validate their effectiveness. For example, measure the training material’s completeness with respect to the functional requirements, track the number and criticality of any corrections. Similarly, monitor the consistency with which change management is followed and correlate the way proper and improper changes are made with respect to change management procedures — did an improper change get made according to the procedures? or did the procedures help ensure the correctness of change? or were needed changes stopped by onerous procedures?

  4. Hi Stephen,
    Sure, you can do that, but how does that measure the effectiveness of the training — classes, materials, etc. — itself? The material may be complete, but what impact is it having? Fundamentally, I am concerned with how to validate that one has created (or not) the capabilities such deliverables are trying to create (or support)?

    BTW, for clarification, my original post should have referred to organizational change management deliverables. I’ve updated.

  5. Paul and Stephen,
    Here’s where the trouble starts with all “softer” deliverables. “What are the units of measure for these support style outcomes?” Can’t think of one, then how will we know value was delivered.
    This of course is the problem in public education and similar efforts.
    But in the end, some unit of measure needs to be developed. In the absence of a unit of measure the work value is undefined. Learning outcomes – names outcomes of what the student will learn is a measure of effectiveness. Assuming the student can be assessed for what was learned – a certification test is common.
    To answer the question about organizational change management deliverables an “as is” and “to be” business model – monetized process flow is how we approach this in the planning and control domain. We are looking for cost savings, efficiencies, and other process improvements. This is the typical work flow process improvement approach. Extend that to the human processes – monetized – and you can define MOP’s and MOE’s.

    • Hi Glen, Your comment gets to the heart of the issue… and the solution, IMO. The best approaches we’ve seen focus on making training and org change accountable for the relevant process/solution/project/program success measures. In other words, they don’t get to jump over a lower bar than everyone else.

      I’ll post more fully on what we’ve seen work later.

  6. […] stuff” deliverables Posted on December 24, 2008 by Paul Ritchie Per an earlier post (here), I have a bee in my bonnet about ”supporting” deliverables and how to measure their […]

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