Project Management

Metric-Driven Scorecards: Keeping Score the Right Way

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Scorecards can be perceived as a positive or negative by project managers and their teams. Let’s face it—not too many people want to be measured. However, done right, a scorecard can become a much-appreciated way for project teams to demonstrate how fast, effective and proficient they are when it comes to consistently delivering the outcomes and benefits their assigned projects are intended to produce.

Today, the terminology surrounding metrics has become a bit muddy. In the 1990s, we had MBOs (management by objectives). Then came KPIs (key performance indicators), and now the hot term is OKRs (objectives and key results). To be honest, these terms pretty much define the same thing and represent a rebranding effort by those hoping to advance the concept.

This is why a metric-driven scorecard (MDS) makes sense as it works with any indicator preference one might have. Yes, a MDS is very similar to a performance scorecard, except its primary goal is to communicate how well an organization is doing on delivering the outcomes the metrics represent.

One of the challenges that many organizations have in crafting meaningful metrics is the absence of context. For example, if the goal is to reduce returns to less than 20 a month, the metric would be to focus on the number of returns per month contrasted to the goal of 20. But that might not tell the story because it …

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