What are the different types of performace measures?

There are five specific types of measures that have been identified, defined and will be applied throughout Iowa state government: input, output, efficiency, quality and outcome.


Input measures  monitor the amount of resources being used to develop, maintain, or deliver a product, activity or service.  Examples include:

  • Money spent on equipment
  • Number of employee hours worked
  • Number of vehicles
  • Facility costs
  • Total operating expenditures
  • Rental fees
  • Number of full-time employees


Output measures monitor “how much” was produced or provided.  They provide a number indicating how many items, referrals, actions, products, etc. were involved.  Examples include:

  • Number of permits issued
  • Number of pavement miles resurfaced
  • Number of people trained
  • Number of water leaks fixed
  • Number of cases managed
  • Number of arrests made
  • Number of documents processed
  • Number of clients served


Efficiency measures are used to monitor the relationship between the amount produced and the resources used.  This means that efficiency measures are created by comparing input and output, see expressing measures with two or more variables.  There are two general types of efficiency measures: unit cost and productivity.  Unit cost is a comparison of an input to an output (i.e. resources used/number produced).  Productivity is a comparison of an output to an input (i.e. number produced/resources used).  Examples include:

Unit Cost

  • Cost per license issued
  • Cost per employee taught
  • Cost per lane-mile paved
  • Cost per client served
  • Cost per document


  • Licenses processed per employee-hour
  • Units produced per week
  • Students taught per instructor
  • Cases resolved per agent
  • Calls handled per hour


Quality measures are used to determine whether customer expectations are being met. These expectations can take many forms, including: timeliness, accuracy, meeting regulatory requirements, courtesy, and meeting customer needs.  The expectations can be identified as a result of internal or external feedback.

The comparison of outputs is often used to create measures of quality.  It may be important to identify certain aspects (aspects / total outputs) about the services, products or activities produced by an organization that are important to its customers.  This comparison of specific outputs to total outputs is used to create measures of accuracy, timeliness and to determine the extent regulatory requirements are met.  Quality measures can also be derived from the evaluation of customer feedback data.  See expressing measures with two or more variables.

Examples include:


  • Busy signal rate
  • Percent of drivers licenses issued within one hour.


  • Percent of applications requiring rework due to internal errors.
  • Taxpayer error rate on tax returns.


  • Percent of wells meeting minimum water quality requirements.
  • Percentage of clients that rated themselves as successfully rehabilitated.

Meeting Customer Needs

  • Percentage of customers that rated service good, very good or excellent.


Outcome measures are used determine the extent to which a core function, goal, activity, product, or service has impacted its intended audience.  These measures are usually built around the specific purpose or result the function, goal, service, product, or activity is intended to deliver or fulfill.  An outcome measure should show progress towards or achievement of agency mission or goals.  See expressing measures with two or more variables.  Examples include:

  • Highway death rate
  • Crime recidivism rate
  • Percent of persons able to read and write after attending a remedial
  • education course
  • Percent of entities in compliance with requirements
  • Percent of clients rehabilitated
  • Percent of cases resolved


Program Area
Performance Management
Performance Measures, Input, Output, Efficiency, Quality, Outcome

Printed from the Iowa Department of Management website on March 21, 2018 at 4:08am.