Workplans: A Program Management Tool
Program Planning: Measures of Success
Success measures are realistic, measurable standards a program sets for itself to gauge progress in achieving its goals. Because goals are broad, multiple measures of success may be required to assess progress toward a particular goal fully. Measures of success should contain a numeric value or clearly observable behavior.
Measures of success answer the questions:
"How will we know if our program has achieved this goal?"
"What would it take to convince me that our program has achieved this goal?"
Let's revisit our sample goal and look at developing measures of success.
Sample Goal: Increase the number of women screened for cervical cancer.
Measure of Success: Five thousand Pap tests will be performed this year, an increase of 1,000 over last year.
The word "increase" in the sample goal implies a numeric value. The measure of success for this goal will tell you the number of women to be screened. To determine what will represent a satisfactory increase, you must first find out how many women are being screened currently. Then, using available program data, determine how much increase would mean success to you.
This measure of success appears to meet all of the criteria and is appropriate given what we know from the case study.
When developing your workplan, you may need to develop multiple measures of success for each goal.
Instructions: Read the goal statement, then choose the most appropriate measure of success you believe to be correct. Choose only one measure of success for each goal statement.
Goal Statement: To provide Pap tests to women most in need of services.
A) At least 1,000 additional Pap tests will be performed this year for rarely or never screened women aged 40 years and older.
B) The maximum number of women allowed by program funding for cervical cancer will be screened.
C) Increase by 50 percent the number of women who receive a Pap test.
1A—Correct! This measure of success indicates a precise number of tests and clearly identifies the audience to be measured.
1B—Incorrect! This is not a clear measure of success. "The maximum number...allowed by program funding" is not a specific number, and therefore would be impossible to measure. To improve this measure of success, the writer could indicate a specific number of women to be screened.
1C—Incorrect! This is not the best choice. While "50 percent" is a specific measure, the definition of the audience, "the number of women to receive a Pap test," is not clear. You might wonder if this includes all women or only those within a specific age group? Also, what is the time period used to identify the number of women tested?
Goal Statement: To hire two new staff members who will be responsible for developing a successful presentation on early breast cancer detection for community organizations.
A) Hire two individuals who develop a presentation and distribute it to community organizations.
B) Recruit, hire, and train two individuals who meet the position requirements, and who produce a presentation that meets all of the stated project objectives and has been pilot tested by a sample audience which represents the intended audience.
C) Recruit and hire two individuals who have the required skill sets, and who produce a presentation that receives a score of "good" to "very good" on pilot test evaluation sheets.
2A—Incorrect! This measure of success is not clear. It does not indicate how the goal's success will be measured.
2B—Correct! This measure of success is measurable. The new hires are measured against the program manager's required skill sets, and the presentation is measured against the project's objectives and a representative sample of community organizations.
2C—Incorrect! Although this is a valid measure of success, it is not the most appropriate of the three. The new hires are measured against the program manager's required skill sets, which is a clear measure. The ratings of the presentation are specific, but they may not measure its success adequately. The second choice is the best of the three choices because it measures success against the project's objectives and by an evaluation of a representative sample of community organizations.
Next, we'll learn about objectives.