Introduction to the Six-Step Process (Part 2)

Second in a multi-part series exploring Six-Step Process for Building an Effective Court Performance Measurement System (CPMS) summarized in Made2Measure (M2M) in October last year.

Three Phases of a Performance Measurement Initiative

Phase 1. Initiating and Planning. Proof of concept, education, readiness and feasibility assessment, identification of design team, project organization and management, planning and scheduling.

Phase 2. Design and Development. Six-step process of building a court performance measurement system (CPMS).

Phase 3. Implementation. Integration of performance measurement and the CPMS with key management practices and processes including strategic and operational planning, budgeting, resource management, communication, information technology, and quality improvement.

Like any major court initiative – e-filing, an automated case management system, and business process reengineering – an effective design process (Phase 2) is not enough to guarantee success. A performance measurement initiative first needs to be accepted as something worth doing (Phase 1) and, after a CPMS is built, it needs to be implemented (Phase 3).

Most organizational change initiatives fail. A court performance measurement initiative may flounder not because the design process is poorly conceived or executed, but rather because the organizational change for measuring court performance is not managed well.

Harvard University business professor John P. Kotter, in a study of 100 top-management driven "corporate transformation" efforts made under many banners, including total quality management, re-engineering, organizational restructuring, and culture change, found that more than half did not survive the beginning stages (citation below). A few were successful, a few were "utter failures," but the vast majority lay in between "with a distinct tilt toward the lower end of the scale." Clearly, businesses do not have a good track record in creating major organizational change. There is no reason to believe that courts and their justice system partners will fare any better. The major lessons Kotter drew from the businesses that succeeded is that any change process usually takes considerable time and that failing to take critical steps can have devastating effects on the change effort.

Phase 1 - Initiating and Planning

The initial phase of a performance measurement is likely to involve introducing the idea of performance measurement, achieving “proof of concept” with a critical mass of the court, getting sufficient support (“buy-in”) from the court leadership, education and training, doing readiness and feasibility assessments, identifying a guiding coalition (e.g., a design team and a steering committee), project organization and management, planning and scheduling. Time and effort to complete this phase will depend on the court, its size and its culture, the receptivity of court executives and managers, and so forth.

For more information about initiating and planning in Made2Measure see:

Q & A: Getting Started with Performance Measurement – The Right Attitude, December 04, 2005

Q & A: Getting Started with Performance Measurement – Breaking Down Resistance, December 5, 2005

Attitudes and Beliefs: A Quick Reality Check, February 13, 2006

Eight Reasons Not to Measure Court Performance, April 5, 2006

Q & A: Getting Started with Performance Measurement -- The Right People on the Bus, November 23, 2005

Q & A: Why Measure Performance? September 22, 2005 (Please scroll down to the September 2005 postings to find this very first Made2Measure blog)

Top 10 Reasons for Performance Measurement, September 26, 2005

See also:

Kotter, J.P. (1995). Leading change: Why transformation efforts fail. Harvard Business Review, 73 (2) (May/June), 59-67.

Kotter, J.P. (1996). Leading Change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Roth, G., & Smith, B. (1999). The Dance of Change: The Challenges of Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations. New York: Doubleday.
Planning Guide for Using the Trial Court Performance Standards and Measurement System (1997). Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Assistance (Monograph NCJ 161568).

Phase 3 - Implementation

It is one thing to build a CPMS and quite another to get it to be used effectively. Even well-conceived, well-designed CPMSs are unlikely to get implwmwnted unless they are woven into the very fabric of a court’s management practices and processes. Change is emotion-laden process. People adopt new ways of doing things when the pain of the old ways exceeds the pain of doing something new.

For more information about implementing a court performance measurement system in Made2Measure see:

Implementing Performance Measurement, November 12, 2005

Implementation: How It Looks When You Get There, December 13, 2005

Implementation: The Simple Lesson of COMPSTAT, February 28, 2006

Implementation: Lesson of the History of E-Filing, Saturday, February 11, 2006

How Long Will It All Take To Do?

A well-organized, energized design team can complete the Six-Step Design Process (Phase 2) in six months, assuming that it has shown the court leadership a well-designed plan and then sticks to it. An approach that has proven workable in field work by CourtMetrics and its partners is for a design team – supported by members of a steering committee – to meet as a group every two weeks (a total of 12 meetings) with “homework” by team members between formal design team meetings.

As suggested earlier, initiating and planning the performance measurement effort (Phase 1) and implementing the CPMS, once it is built (Phase 3), may take from several months to a year or two depending on the court.

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