To coincide with our Association event on 17th March on Reimagining Benchmarking, we have collated a set of questions, with associated resources offering some of the answers, that explore the subjects of benchmarking, data and measurement. These resources are only a fraction of what is available in our Knowledge Repository. Please use the comments section to this post to share other resources that you’ve found helpful.

varvara-grabova-NCSARCecw4U-unsplashYou can’t begin to benchmark, if you don’t have the data. The trouble is access to meaningful data is just as hard as it sounds.

Q. Have you considered the purpose for which data is being collected? You need to establish a sensible framework for your data, if it is to have any data: The Government Data Quality Framework | Major Projects Association

Q. What are the limitations and challenges for using data across different departments, different organizations or different sectors? You must understand the basis on which others have gathered any data you may be using: The Government Data Quality Framework | Major Projects Association

Q. How much do your decision-makers understand the nature of what they are working with? Data is always contextual and if any data users are ignorant of the context of the data you are using, they will struggle to understand its limitations as much as its true value: Demystifying Big Data | Major Projects Association

daniele-levis-pelusi-jgxSE0ypVJc-unsplashWhat gets measured is rarely what needs to be managed. Defaulting to easy to collect data in response to the challenge of measuring the intangible is never helpful.

Q. What does good reporting involve? Creating an environment for well-imagined and well-executed reporting will provide a good foundation for your benchmarking: Thameslink: Reporting Best Practices | Major Projects Association

Q. In complex systems how can you be sure you have understood and captured cause and effect or correlations? Major projects are complex systems, measuring them requires an understanding of what this means: Systems Led Design Guide | Major Projects Association

Q. What does your reporting model look like? In order to produce reports, different functions will need to interact and work together. Mapping these interactions will help both you and them to understand the big picture: Reporting Procedures Handbook | Major Projects Association

nick-fewings-C2zhShTnl5I-unsplashBenchmarking is a highly technical exercise that needs to planned, designed and applied consistently to avoid bias, red herrings 0r simply meaningless data.

Q. How do you visualise your data in a way that enables understanding but is always appropriate? Data itself is rarely a language anyone beyond the originators will struggle to understand (and sometime even they struggle). It need to be represented, ideally visually, to help us spot the patterns: Visualising Business Transformation Masterclass – with Jonathan Whelan | Major Projects Association

Q. If you are considering using benchmarking, where and how might you start? You’ll need a methodology of some kind to ensure a relevant and repeatable process: Best Practice in Benchmarking | Major Projects Association

Q. If you don’t know what good looks like, how can you benchmark capital projects effectively? Like most forms of excellence, excellent benchmarking requires commitment, investment, and a willingness to forego short-term fixes of long-term problems: Reimagining Capital Projects | Major Projects Association

Reimagining Benchmarking: Half-day members-only event on 17th March 2021