14 identifying the measures which will be used to

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1.4 Identifying the measures which will be used to collect the data The next step in planning the benchmarking project is the selection of appropriate indicators for measuring performance. Measurement is essential to the benchmarking process; without the measurement of specified outcomes (‘metrics’) accurate comparisons cannot be made. In order to achieve such measurement, the benchmarking team needs to select a number of appropriate performance indicators. Performance indicators may be characterised in the following way: The function of performance indicators is to identify the principal characteristics or components of successful performance, expressed either in terms which can be quantified or as reliable estimates of relative achievement. Thus they provide a profile of performance levels attained by a particular organisation at a particular time; this enables a comparison with other organisations or with the same organisation at different rimes. When selecting performance indicators for the purpose of a benchmarking study, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration. The most important are the need for: both quantitative and qualitative measures of performance; indicators that are relevant to the selected topic for benchmarking; indicators which exhibit sufficient precision to accommodate meaningful comparison; ‘contextualising’ of benchmarking data; and measures of performance that can be reproduced, to enable comparison with the benchmarking partner and evaluation of one's own performance after initiatives arising from benchmarking have been implemented. Schools / areas undertaking benchmarking may wish to check with the Office of Strategy and Planning to clarify what measures already exist across the university and what data is readily available . University Measures University Online Data and Information Systems A mixture of quantitative and qualitative measures of performance is recommended. The benchmarking project will become too 'outcome-orientated' and fail to come to terms with underlying processes if the method concentrates solely on quantifiable measures. Without an understanding of how results are achieved, adaptation of best practices to one's own institution is liable to prove difficult.
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Curtin University of Technology Document for Internal Use Only Page 12 of 24 Conversely, if qualitative data are not linked to quantitative measures then the benchmarking study may become too subjective and accurate comparisons of performance may be problematic. Generally, quantitative data is useful in showing performance gaps between one's institution and the benchmarking partner, while qualitative data helps explain this gap. Quantitative measures of performance will lend objective weight to a benchmarking exercise, and highlight more vividly the need for change, while qualitative information will aid in showing the way to change.
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