Performance indicators

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Performance Indicators

What are they?

Performance indicators are measures of inputs, processes, outputs, outcomes, and impacts for development projects, programs, or strategies. When supported with sound data collection—perhaps involving formal surveys—analysis and reporting, indicators enable managers to track progress, demonstrate results, and take corrective action to improve service delivery. Participation of key stakeholders in defining indicators is important because they are then more likely to understand and use indicators for management decision-making.

What can we use them for?

Setting performance targets and assessing progress toward achieving them.

  • Identifying problems via an early warning system to allow corrective action

to be taken.

  • Indicating whether an in-depth evaluation or review is needed.


  • Effective means to measure progress toward objectives.
  • Facilitates benchmarking comparisons between different organizational units,

districts, and over time.

  • Poorly defined indicators are not good measures of success.
  • Tendency to define too many indicators, or those without accessible data sources,

making system costly, impractical, and likely to be underutilized.

  • Often a trade-off between picking the optimal or desired indicators and having to

accept the indicators which can be measured using existing data.
COST: Can range from low to high, depending on number of indicators collected, the frequency and quality of information sought, and the comprehensiveness of the system.