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Reinforcing the Change – How Metrics Will Help You Succeed … Did You Define Them at the Start of Your Project With Your Sponsor?

Metrics, to me, always seem to be the obscure piece of information that we talk about needing to develop, but don’t always get to the point of actually articulating and documenting what they are. Also referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Outcomes and Key Results (OKRs), success criteria, etc., metrics are a critical component to the success of a change effort. Consider this scenario: you roll out a new module to an electronic medical record system, but you have no idea the volume of the people this change will impact. If someone doesn’t actually take time to complete a baseline analysis to capture the number of individuals effected, how will the change adoption be measured?

Once the volume of the audience is understood, then the change team can set targets for measuring successful adoption. For example, if the goal is to have 100% utilization of the new EMR module, there is likely more work needed to ensure the end users are set up for the successful adoption of the new technology. Additionally, if there are milestone targets (e.g., 25% increased utilization each week for four weeks), and if those targets are tracked (perhaps even within the tool), this will be a lead indicator of whether the change team needs to intervene with reinforcement tactics (e.g., additional/different training, incentives, etc.).

Metrics should also not be developed in a vacuum. End users (preferably managers/supervisors) should be engaged when developing the metrics so that they 1) understand what’s at stake, and 2) have a voice in developing achievable goals. If the end users are not involved, there is a possibility that the metrics developed will be unachievable. While it’s ideal to develop metrics at the beginning of the change effort with all the stakeholders involved to align everyone to a common goal and shared vision, developing metrics at the beginning of a change effort is often difficult. End users don’t often understand the complexity or impact of the change on their teams, so, they may be reluctant to commit to metrics too early.

Consider working with the teams to develop general alignment (not commitments) to metrics at the beginning of the change project and then revising as more information is learned throughout the change effort. For example, review and revise metrics once the design session is complete, when there is end user validation (acceptance testing), and again with pre-go-live training. You may be asking, what are typical organizational change management metrics? The metrics should be based on the original problem statement and outcome goals. For example, in keeping with the medical industry theme, if the problem is that there is an increase in clinical errors as captured by a quality system and the outcome is to reduce those errors through implementing a clinical checklist, the team would want to capture reduced quality issues reported as captured in the quality system. The team would also want to identify an acceptable threshold against which to measure the before and after change impact.

Here are some other general categories to consider:

  • Reduced quality issues (e.g., manufacturing): This aligns well with the six sigma methodology
  • Percentage threshold adoption/utilization rate: You will need to define what adoption and utilization look like
  • Data entry quality: How much of the data is entered and upon human audit, what is the quality of the data (e.g., how much rework on data entry is required?)
  • Percentage threshold of help desk or customer support calls
  • Improved time efficiencies: The trick with this one is that you have to measure the time the process takes prior to the change go-live to track the time stamps post go-live. This is where change management and process improvement/optimization methodologies work well together

To conclude, changes implemented vary from project to project and consequently the metrics used to determine the success of each project differ. However, change adoption metrics can help ensure success as well as track the levels of success achieved.

Tips:

  1. Ensure adoption metrics relate back to Project Objectives
  2. Keep metrics clearly quantifiable. Work with operations upfront to ensure that what you want to track can actually be tracked
  3. Find out what metrics are already captured that can be used (if any) so that a performance baseline can be created for comparative purposes
  4. Step back and look at your metrics. What is missing that could be useful to understand the degree of project success
  5. Keep it simple and finalize your adoption metrics plan. Make sure you’re not planning to track too many things and that the cadence of each is understood

If you need support developing your change adoption plan, reach out to ViTL Solutions.

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