Measuring Success

By Susit Dhakal, Associate Consultant

One of the projects I am working on this semester involves analyzing metrics that measure the success of programs which provide educational grants for women. As I started reaching out to various not-for-profit organizations to figure out how they measure the impact of their programs, I soon realized the challenges they face. Some of the replies I have received as feedback included several questions. For example, “Is our program successful if our scholarship recipients graduate? Or if they get a job that allows them to be self-sufficient? Or is it enough that they feel that they have success? Or that they have hope for success?”

Another side project I am working on this semester requires research into metrics used by transit agencies to measure the success of their social media strategy. This research led me to conclude that the majority of transit agencies are unsure as to how to measure the success of their social media initiatives. A few transit agencies seemed happy that the number of followers and friends on Twitter and Facebook helped them measure their “reach”, while others seemed to believe that “reach is a big, meaningless number.”

Although these were two separate studies in two completely different industries, the underlying question was the same: How do you measure success? The findings of both studies led me to ask another question: How do we measure success at Fels Research and Consulting Group? Do we look at quantitative measures such as the number of projects completed, deadlines met, and/or budget constraints met? Or do we look at qualitative measures such as client satisfaction, quality of work, etc? Or is it a combination of both?

The answer is none of the above. While all of the aforementioned measures of successes are important and we at Fels Research and Consulting continuously strive to meet those guidelines, we primarily measure our success by the impact we have on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of governmental and non-profit organizations. Our aim at Fels Research and Consulting is not to merely work on public policy and public management projects. It is to work on projects through which we can make a difference. Practical purpose is one of our distinctive edges. Measuring our success by the impact we have is a vital part of our identity.

To quote the introduction to our Promising Practices reports, “Our Promising Practices Guides advance this mission by providing practical, effective, cutting-edge information on public management topics ranging from social media to performance management for public sector leaders”. To download our Promising Practices Guides, please click here.

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