Creating a culture for measurement – data, insights, optimisation, improvements and solutions

How to create a culture for measurement – data, insights, optimisation, improvements and solutions

Please note a new post from MeasureCamp 2015 which discussed Buy-in to a culture of data-driven design

One of the hardest challenges I have faced in my various web related roles is buy-in to the power of the web. It sounds daft that in a digital world often senior management look towards other media/ outlets as a guide to success. For example:

  • Local Authority/ Council  – Call centre or One-Stop-Shop interactions
  • Higher Education – Student acquisitions
  • Health Sector – User surveys, consultations

Of course all offline and online offerings are important, but the growth of digital transactions into the primary transactional source makes this the ultimate arena to measure success.

Criteria to measure success are at a site level (see Avinash’s DMMM to set KPI’s on site objectives). But this blog will focus on where you are in the “measurement acceptance scale” and give advice on how to move up the scale.

Where is your organisation on the measurement acceptance scale?

Starting at the worse scenario…

  1. No acceptance – Just about get the web.
    Literally senior management don’t care in what is happening on the web. They just want a web presence.
  2. Minimal acceptance – Get the web, understand the benefits but little more.
    Having a web presence is accepted, and they understand the web has its benefits. They might want some aggregated metrics but not to deem success. Will revert to other metrics to measure success.
  3. Acceptance – more interested in vanity measurement.
    Buy-in to metrics has been achieved but more often than not requests are for vanity (I want figures that should how good I am).  Similar to 2 we are mostly talking aggregated metrics. Quite often they will believe others (often those protecting their worth) with their analysis over your analysis.
  4. Strong acceptance – understand measurement and set goals but doesn’t really affect improvements.
    Here you will no doubt be producing dashboards and monthly reports to a range of levels. Metrics will be more towards site goals and often your insights will be asked for, which you will gain from segmented analysis of said goals. Buts that’s where it ends.
  5. Acceptance utopia – a culture for measurement!
    You work for an organisation that believes in data-driven decisions. Your dashboards are a focal point of board meetings and drive the improvement process. Insights are taken a step further and generate several optimisation tests that lead to deployed enhancements.


Tips to create a culture for measurement.

So ok, you’re not a 1 or a 5, but more likely somewhere between a 2 and a 4. But how do you achieve 5.

Talk “their” talk

First and foremost talk and present data/ insights in a form the recipient understands. Believe you me; even the basics can baffle them (visits, users, sessions, hits…). To get a handle on how they talk, speak to them either face to face or sit in on board meetings. Think non-technical!

At times you will have to involve a technical word, but if you do use one stick with it. Eventually others will refer to it not other iterations.


Tell a story

Have to thank (@jonjons) for this point. This doesn’t just go for talking measurement it goes for everything. People understand and like a story, think back to when you were a kid! Start with the current situation – how it is, then talk about what you are doing, next talk about what we can do/ did do and finally talk about impact.

Do this in meetings, presentations or face to face. For example:

As part of the site objective “increase user engagement” I started to report on “user registration”. “Registration” is an important goal to us as registration users are more likely to “use service X, download Y, buy Z”. The figures currently reported aren’t quiet at the level that the service group expects and we have some suggested improvements that should lead to “improved registration” figures. If we increase registration by 10% that will equate to “more users of X, more downloads of Y, more £ in sale of Z.”


Build a network of believers

Hopefully your line manager or close colleagues get why you exist. However they might not be at the meetings/ boards that should be impacted by measurement.  Look at the board membership and start to cherry pick those that believe. They might not be the most technical but they will understand we can improve and enhance the solution. Plant the seed with them that data and insights can drive improvement. Send them blog posts showing real life scenarios with brands they use.


Attend the boards/ groups that operate at a strategic level.

First ask to attend the strategic meetings and secondly get measurement on the agenda. If you can try get it high in the agenda. Models I present focus on the groups objective and goals so this model if nothing else should remind the group of why we are here and thus set the tone for the meeting.


Create a strategic dashboard. Focus on Insights, Recommendations and Impact

Of course you want your model and its insights to be understood so you need the right dashboard. Remember time is often capped so you need to get your point across. Using the previous 3 steps create a strategic dashboard. One that is in English and one that paints a picture (Insights>Recommendations>Impact). Now when other members get a bit edgy to recommendations your believers will stand up for you and support the change.

Reality is not all recommendations will get approved. Accept that now or you’ll be disappointed. However think long haul. It might not be approved now but with more supporting documentation and maybe when more IT resource is available it will.

NEW: Avinash has just written a great post on creating the ultimate dashboard


Keep going!

Creating a culture in organisation isn’t an overnight task it’s a long process. As mentioned above you need to create believers, an army of believers, who will preach your thinking to others. You will also need some skills/ traits in your locker to help you on your way (especially the dark days)

  • Communication – the ability to tell a story a must
  • Conviction/ Confidence – people believe what you say is right
  • Passionate – if you love something you can sell something (in this case insights)
  • Stay user-centric – it’s all about the end user
  • Perseverance – keep knocking on doors. They will open eventually.
  • Clinical – both in terms of data integrity but also carrying tests out.


Even when you have the culture in place emphasis is then placed on recommendations (tests) being fruitful. Optimisation is long gain so think bigger picture.

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Posted in General Advice, Measurement Model
2 comments on “Creating a culture for measurement – data, insights, optimisation, improvements and solutions
  1. […] other key ingredient to this is having an organisation that buy-ins to this culture for measurement and continual improvement. As mentioned in my previous blog a key tool to creating the culture is planting the seed with key […]

  2. […] on buy-in to data-driven design from those in attendance. As mentioned on Google+ I have written a post previously on building a culture for measurement which expands on some of these […]

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