Let’s Benchmark!

I have a better idea… Let’s not.

Personally, I think “benchmarking,” much like its sister phrase, “best practices,” means “waste of time.” Time better spent analyzing and improving your internal processes.

Benchmarking is supposed to mean looking inside other organizations, and comparing their results, methodology and metrics of a practice or process with your own. Supposedly, this has some meaning to us, and we can use that to adjust and improve our own processes and practices.

Therein lies the problem — our processes and practices, not theirs. We cannot simply reach into another organization — similar in scope or not — and extricate several of their unique processes to overlay on our organization. Taken so out of context, we may actually do much more harm than good.

One size doesn’t fit all, what works for you may not for me, templates are useless… pick a phrase, they all apply. Studying another’s process to determine if there are pieces of it that you can use, within your own, well-defined structure and practice, may indeed have some value. Benchmarking entire processes, practices, and methodologies does not.

Sure, compare all you like. But take the results of that comparison and ask why there is a variance. There are so many variables within organziations — people, structure, geographic, cultural, you name it… a firm can have “better” metrics than you, but not necessarily execute that particular process nearly as well.

Don’t benchmark… analyze and improve.

But, that’s just me…


Kevin Berchelmann

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