Stacey Barr is the author of Practical Performance Measurement and Prove It!. She’s also the creator of the PuMP® framework which I believe is by far the best mental construct for learning and implementing performance measurements successfully in any organization large or small. This Australian-based teacher and consultant did not set out to be a performance measurement specialist. While she had a strong penchant for math and statistics, she first had her sites set on the medical profession.
Who is Stacey Barr?
- thought about a career in medicine
- turned attention to math and statistics courses
- first job as a research assistant at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
- boredom eventually brought her into her first performance measurement position in the railroad industry
Questions Asked During the Interview
- Why do so many organizations get performance measurement wrong?
- Should every company or non-profit consider having a Chief Measurement Officer?
- Are we putting too much emphasis on the tools?
- What is PuMP® and does the 10-30-60 Rule Apply?
- Why are people afraid of performance measurement and what are the consequences?
- How do we keep the performance measurement process positive while staying away from what Dean Spitzer calls the dark side of performance measurement?
- Can the right performance management system lead to a self-managed organization?
Big Idea 1
The Reason for Poor Performance Measurement
Performance measures get us closer to the truth and the truth can be so scary. This can reveal what they’re not actually able to achieve or haven’t been able to accomplish. I think that creates this need to only want to measure trivial things or things inside our direct control.
Big Idea 2
Thinking Before Tools
“I think we get carried away with setting up a balanced scorecard or we get carried away with throwing data into a process behavior chart. Or we get carried away throwing whatever KPIs are easy to get our hands on into a really fancy dashboard.
What we’re doing is focusing too much on the thing and not enough on the thinking that’s got to go behind it. PuMP® is sometimes called a tool, but it’s actually a thinking process. PuMP® is a series of steps, each for the technique that guides us to think in a much more constructive and successful way about the things that will bring the right measures to life.”
Big Idea 3
What is the best description of accountability? The process starts with every performance measurement that has an owner with the following:
The performance measurement owner has to know how to monitor the measurement.
The owner of the performance measurement has to know how to interpret the outcomes validly.
The performance measurement owner then has to initiate the right actions when needed with the right people and the right resources.
Three of Stacey Barr’s Influencers on Her Career
Stacey has been an influencer in my career over the past decade. Accordingly, I wanted to know the people who have left their mark on her work.
Author and Business Consultant
“I adore that man, I adore his work. He has been such an inspiration to me in his performance measurement thinking.”
Data Visualization Consultant and Author
“Many people know about his dashboard guide. He’s a visual analysis guru and a brilliant man.”
Author and Statistician Expert
“He’s been a great help to me over the years with his process behavior charts, but mostly the XmR which we use with PuMP®.”
I ask every guest about their favorite books. One of Stacey’s favorites is one she’s read more than once – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values.
What I tend to do is I pick these books that just sound great and that people recommend to me and I flick through them, and I pull out as much as I need to get a better understanding of performance measurement and my line of work generally. So I’m a bit of a harvester of ideas from books, but I’m not necessarily somebody who immerses herself in each one.Stacey Barr
Stacey also likes The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Muller.
I’ve interviewed Jerry Muller about that book. I wouldn’t say that that was a book that influenced me. Instead, I found it very confirming. Yes, he had done a lot of research around things that I’d anecdotally picked up on for many years, and put a whole lot of substance around it. So I loved that book for that reason.
And he is not a measurement guru. He comes from a completely different angle, but what he’s produced is a modern classic in the field of performance measurement.Stacey Barr
Books by Stacey Barr
Get a Free Digital Copy of
Practical Performance Measurement
Practical Performance Measurement is no longer in print. If you sign up for Stacey Barr’s weekly newsletter, you can obtain a digital copy of this classic.