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Subject: IT Performance Management

Tutorial: Introduction To IT Performance Management And Measurement

 

How does non-technical IT performance management work?


Performance management involves the routine, and sometimes non routine, measurement of key aspects of IT project / activity performance and making this information available to decision-makers. The goal is to assure that the benefits of IT are realized as planned.

Preparatory steps for performance management initiatives include: definition of the overall analytic framework, formulation of implementation plans, assignment of analytic responsibility, staff and management training, and conceptual design of the necessary supporting systems applications.

Once the foundation is established, performance management involves a number of recurring steps:

  1. Gather performance data on those variables of interest to IT and senior management.
     
  2. Analyze the data to determine normal (baseline) levels.
     
  3. Determine appropriate performance thresholds for each important variable; exceeding a threshold indicates a problem worthy of attention (e.g., achievement of a major project milestone is 30 days, or more, behind schedule) and possibly action.
     
  4. Periodically (often monthly) monitor performance variables for deviations from established thresholds (a.k.a., variances). When a performance threshold is exceeded (e.g., vacant PC support staff positions increases to 10% when the acceptable vacancy threshold is 3%), analysts identify a variance and determine its significance. Depending on a number of factors (e.g., severity or risk), analysts may take one of several actions, including:
  • identifying the project / activity as "at risk" and more closely analyzing performance during the next reporting period
  • contacting the project / functional manager for a verbal variance explanation
  • "margin-left: 25">investigate the cause of the variance and formulate corrective action recommendations
  1. Report on performance to senior management (at least annually), and functional management (at least quarterly).
     
  2. Initiate corrective action.

The foregoing steps are part of an ongoing process established to support a performance planning, monitoring, and control system. The intent is to provide management with a stable, recurring "early warning" mechanism to detect and correct incipient performance problems before they actually become problems.


Introduction To IT Performance Management And Measurement, Lesson 5 of 13

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