Seven pitfalls to avoid in outcomes measurement

Social outcomes Performance reporting Managing to outcomes Australia

What are the common things that go wrong when setting up an outcomes measurement approach? SVA consultants share 10 years of insights.

Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen many organisations start to implement an outcomes-focused approach – setting up the processes and systems to start measuring outcomes.

Some do this to tell the story of how their activities are changing the lives of the people they work with. For others, ‘managing to outcomes’ is the goal – testing, learning and iterating to make sure that services are effective. Some do it for both these reasons.

We’ve worked with many organisations, ranging from small social enterprises through to large multi-service providers, from community embedded organisations through to organisations which provide services on behalf of government, as they implement an outcomes-focused approach.

As a result, we’ve seen where things tend to go awry not just immediately but over the long term.

We have already covered the what, why and how of managing to outcomes and provided a detailed guide for developing an outcomes-focused approach with summary articles (How to adopt an outcomes-focused approach). In this article, we’ve outlined seven of the common pitfalls to avoid when adopting an outcomes-focused approach:

  • Doing it because you think you have to
  • Biting off more than you can chew
  • Leadership isn’t behind it
  • Thinking you can wing it
  • Data is difficult to make sense of
  • Ignoring the big picture
  • Giving up too quickly

By avoiding these pitfalls, your outcomes-focused approach is more likely to hold, embed and grow, reaping the benefits that you seek: the potential to constantly improve what you do and provide improved outcomes for the people your organisation exists for.

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