Measurement Plan

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A measurement plan sets out details for each measure proposed for an improvement project.

What is it?

It is a document that provides an overall summary of your project measures.  It should:

  • contain a small number of measures (3-8);
  • clearly describe the measures and their purpose within the improvement project;
  • show types of measure (outcome / process / balancing);
  • have clear and precise operational definitions for each measure that explain how it is calculated and clarify any terms used;
  • outline how and when the data will be collected, including any sampling strategies;
  • set out how the measure will be displayed.
What does this tool look like?
An example of a measurement plan
Why use this tool?

Use a measurement plan in order to clearly set out your family of around 3-8 measures  that you will be using to track progress in your improvement project. 

The template will prompt you to think through your measures thoroughly, and when complete it will be an essential communication and reference document for your project team.

This will help ensure consistency of measurement over time and between team members, so minimising the potential for adding in variation to your data that could make it harder to see what’s actually happening.

Where does this tool fit in the improvement journey?


It is relevant to the measurement theme that supports your Quality Improvement Journey.

How to use it.


Start by developing ideas for your measures -

  1. clarify the improvement aim and how this can best be measured;
  2. use the driver diagram to help assess the key processes that need to be measured to ensure they are happening reliably;
  3. identify any potential unintended consequences of the work and set up balancing measures for them.

Have you picked specific measures or concepts?  If concepts, decide on the most appropriate measure for each concept.

Think about the most appropriate type of data for what you need to know e.g. a %, rate or numerical measure.

Develop clear operational definitions for each measure that are agreed and understood by the team.

Work out and specify how the data will be collected and monitored, and whose responsibility it is to do it.  It’s important to think at the start about what the analysis will be like to make sure you collect all the info you need, in the right format.

Keep the measurement proportionate with as little burden as possible.  Measure what is useful.

Note: You may find it helpful to start by creating individual plans for each measure, before bringing them together on your measurement plan.  The detailed measure plan template below can act as a checklist to make sure you’ve thought through each measure in detail, which might be particularly important in larger projects.


Make sure the whole team can access and use the plan as a reference for collecting the measures.  Use the plan on an ongoing basis to keep on top of the measures and make sure you are measuring in the same way.  Share it with others who need to know how you are measuring your progress.