Business Center

Performance and Process Measurement


“We Don’t Make Widgets”, by Ken Miller (Governing Books, 2010, ISBN:0872894800)

This Quick Start Guide is intended to help Executives, Managers and Leadership Teams identify key organizational performance and process measures. This Quick Start Guide can be used on its own, or in conjunction with the book referenced above.

Five important questions that every leader should be asking, every day (p. 93)

  1. What results are we trying to achieve?
  2. How would we know if we were achieving them?
  3. What strategies are we using to achieve those results?
  4. Are these strategies working (and, how do we know)?
  5. What do we need to do differently to achieve these results?

Step 1: Identify and characterize the “specific, countable, tangible deliverables” we produce, so that we can make these better, faster and cheaper (in that order) (p. 30)

Typical CDOT “specific, countable, tangible deliverables” may include: (p. 36)

  • Miles of road
  • Filled potholes
  • # of Grants

Typical function deliverables at CDOT or other agencies may include: (p. 36)

  • PC repairs
  • Installations
  • Filled vacancies
  • New employee orientations
  • Approved purchase orders
  • Budget recommendations
  • Procedures
  • Answers
  • Assignments
  • Approvals

Measure: (pp. 50-1)

  1. How many of a “specific, countable, tangible deliverable” do we produce?
  2. How long does it take to produce the deliverable?
  3. How long does it take for a customer to get that deliverable?
  4. How many deliverables are produced correctly the first time through (First Pass Yield or Throughput Yield)?
  5. How satisfied is the customer with the deliverable?
  6. What are the outcomes (results) that deliverable is achieving (and how does that tie to higher-level CDOT objectives)?


Step 2: Ensure that we work to satisfy the “end use” customers first

Ask these questions: (p. 69)

  1. Who are the end-user customers of a specific deliverable?
  2. Who brokers the deliverable to the end user?
  3. Who fixes a problem with a deliverable for the end user?
  4. Which of these people (end-user, broker, fixer) has the most power over the way the deliverable is currently designed?
  5. Which of these has the least power over the way the deliverable is currently designed?

Measure: (pp. 82-3)

  1. How well the end-use customers and other customers are able to achieve their desired outcomes
  2. How well we are meeting customer priorities through our deliverables, including
    • Ease of use
    • Timelines
    • Accuracy
    • Cost
    • Choice

Remember: The end-use customer of a license plate is the police officer! (pp. 64-6)

Step 3: Ensure that we are achieving our vision and mission, thereby providing a high level of return to our “investors”, the public

Measure: (pp. 91, 99-101)

  1. Results (outcomes) that our customers achieve when they use our deliverables.
  2. Results (outcomes) that CDOT achieves when our customers use our deliverables.

“Improving the system of our organizations should be part of what we do every day, not something else” (p. 105)

This Quick Start Guide was developed in June 2013 (updated in July 2013), by Marcus Ritosa and Gary Vansuch, from CDOT’s Office of Process Improvement – Implementing the Three E’s:  Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Elegance in state government.