The goals must be written in such a way that they are measurable. In selecting a goal, you should ask yourself the following questions:
  • Can I measure this goal?
  • How will I measure it?
  • What data do I need to measure it?
  • Do we have the data readily available to measure it or will we have to develop a process to get it?
  • Will the results of measuring this particular goal help us serve our customers better or make better operational or managerial decisions?
The answers to these questions will guide your development process. If you can't measure the goal, it needs to be revised so that you can. If you are not able to figure out how to measure the goal, you don't have sufficient data to measure it, or the data is not readily available, you may need to either revise the goal or postpone implementation of that goal until the data is available.

The last question regarding how the goal will help the utility is fundamental. If you can't say that having this goal and tracking how well you're meeting this goal will have a positive effect on serving your customers or on operating or managing the utility it is not a goal worth having and it should be eliminated.

An example of a well written goal is the following:

"The XYZ Water Treatment Plant will provide a minimum pressure of 50 psi at all locations in the service area 98% of the time."

This goal can be measured. How? By taking pressure readings. What data will you need? Pressure readings at various locations throughout the distribution system on a routine basis. Is this data readily available? Let's assume that XYZ Water Plant takes readings monthly. Therefore, this data is available on a monthly basis. No additional effort will be needed to measure this goal. The final question of whether it will help XYZ serve its customers, can be answered "Yes" if XYZ has asked its customers for feedback and determined that this was their desire or if XYZ has determined that this is an optimal operating pressure to balance customer needs with operational concerns, such as leakage. You might note that this goal has a caveat of 98% included in it. This caveat is there to ensure that customers understand that there may be times when breaks occur and pressure drops. As a practical matter, customers should not expect perfection, because utility assets will fail. It should be acceptable to most customers that pressure may be low on rare occasions as repairs are made.

An example of a poorly written goal is the following:

"The QRS Wastewater Plant will work on odors."

Can this be measured? Not really. This goal is too vague and would be hard to measure or determine how well you are doing against this goal.

How could a goal like this be rewritten?

"The QRS Wastewater Plant will have no more than 4 odor complaints per month."

This goal can be measured using data from a customer complaint log.