Should I Measure if No One Asks?

I have seen many measurement models to determine the value of knowledge management and learning. The trick is to have a methodology to measure whatever you say will be the result. Many of you are probably saying: “Of course! This is nothing we don’t know.” You’d be surprised how simple and oftentimes that important point is missed. If you say you will save time, then you need a baseline and post-measure of time spent. If you say you’ll move the financial needle either in cost savings or revenue generation, then be careful what you state. You will have to measure that!

I have noticed in today’s fast-paced environment, some leaders don’t have a tolerance for capturing a baseline. They are okay with just surveying people afterward to see if they are satisfied with the new tools. On one hand, we could feel blessed that we are not always asked to prove ROI as that is a difficult thing to do. However, spending a little time to capture a baseline is a battle worth fighting.

Even if management doesn’t ask for measurement, do it. You never know when you might be asked down the line. “How successful was that intranet re-design?” “Do we know how much time people actually saved with these tools?” I have been in that situation before where measures weren’t expected but then a year later, an executive wanted to report on results to the board or upper management.

Two Rules of Thumb

DON’T attempt to measure ROI or IRR unless it is required. (I know…the easy way out but there is no reason to cause yourself undue pain. However, get agreement on this up front!)
DO set up activity, usage, time, satisfaction and other targets before you begin making changes and measure after changes have been implemented. If nothing else, you have evidence in your hip pocket  should you need it.