G - 1
USDA CPIC Guide to Information Technology
APPENDIX G—PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT
Performance measurement is the process whereby an organization establishes the parameters within
which programs, investments, and acquisitions are reaching the desired results in support of mission
goals. Performance measures are set during the Select Phase and assessed during subsequent phases.
The focus of performance measurement is on outcomes, or how well the IT investment enables the
program or agency to accomplish its primary mission. Consequently, performance measurement should
look beyond measures of input (resource consumption), activities (milestones), and output (production
numbers), which are more directly related to operational performance. This focus, however, does not
imply that input, activity, and output measures are not useful. Indeed, internal measures are used to track
resources and activities and make necessary adjustments since investments are only successful if
hardware, software, and capabilities are delivered on time and meet specifications.
Performance is evaluated using two criteria—effectiveness and efficiency. Effectiveness demonstrates
that an organization is doing the correct things, while efficiency demonstrates that an organization is
doing things optimally. New acquisitions and upgrades should include a business case indicating the
investment will result in effectiveness or efficiency improvements. For example, a new computer network
might result in enhanced efficiency because work is processed faster, digital images are transferred
among remote sites, or messages are transmitted more securely. Some questions that facilitate
performance measure development include:
• What product will be produced, shared, or exchanged?
• Who will use the results?
• What decisions or actions will result from delivery of products from this system?
Answers to these questions will help Project Managers develop effective performance measures with the