Measuring BRM Performance

Posted | Category: Professional Development | Contributed

Measuring BRM (Business Relationship Manager) performance is an important aspect of a successful BRM role implementation. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for a BRM performance measurement framework—just as business value definition varies from business partner to business partner and from service provider to service provider. Performance MeasurementIn the spring this year, my colleagues and I published “Business Relationship Management: Standards, Best Practices, and Practical Implementations.” In the article, which was published in the March-April 2013 issue of the SupportWorld magazine, we discussed the BRM role and corresponding performance evaluation criteria and compared them with the latest ISO/IEC 20000 standard requirements and ITIL best practices. We also outlined some challenges BRM implementations often encounter and suggested ways to overcome them. Click here to download PDF copy of the entire article.

In this blog post, I would like to discuss some of the BRM performance tools and metrics I found effective when leading BRM teams.

BRM 360-Degree Performance Review

There are several ways to measure BRM success. Most BRM performance measures are indirect and can evaluated in the overall health and profitability of the organization. The sample list I offer below is by no means complete. For best results, I recommend using a combination of them all.


A BRM can be directly measured through routine (quarterly or bi-yearly) surveys. These surveys will ask 10-15 questions around the performance of the BRM and how he or she understands and adds value to the line of business. An inherent limitation of a survey is that it is very subjective with the responses often being only as good as the survey respondent felt that day. With that said, it is best to do these surveys face-to-face through a conversation with the business partner evaluating the performance of the BRM. Once the surveys are completed for all business partners, the results are consolidated into a summary. As a leader of the BRM organization, discuss the summary as a way of mentoring the BRM, touching on where he or she is doing well and areas for improvement. The survey results can then also be discussed with the BRM and the business partner to help take the relationship up in the maturity level.

Sample questions include the following:

  • Who is my BRM?
  • How well do I understand the role and purpose of the BRM team?
  • How well does my BRM understand my industry, business, and operational needs?
  • How effective is my BRM at conducting workshops and one-on-one relationship building?
  • How effective is my BRM at integrating IT strategy and my business strategy?
  • To what degree does my BRM play an integral role in aligning IT with strategic initiatives?

In my situation, there were too many business partners to have face-to-face review meetings with them all. As a result I sent the survey to all business partners in the organization electronically and was able to group responses by BRM.  This exercise was very eye opening. One of the business partners responded with, “My BRM never talks to me.” Another replied, ” I have no idea what my BRM does.”  As the BRM team leader I was able to use these responses and work with the individual BRM to improve their relationships.

Value Delivery

A great way to ensure BRMs focus on projects that move the company forward can be done as follows:

  • Year 1 – After the BRM understands the LOB vision and needed capabilities, have the BRM propose how much value (or benefits) they will present and gain approval to move forward through business cases. Example: I will present four major projects for the Merchandising LOB. The total combined five year value for these projects will be $25m. All five of the projects will gain approval to move forward by the end of the year.
  • Year 2 – The BRM goal will be to ensure the value defined from the projects approved in the prior year is realized (organizations must be tracking realized value to do this).

A good technique to include in the  yearly review process around value delivery is the number and value of projects paused or stopped from moving forward. One of the responsibilities of the BRM is to work with the business and ensure the right projects move forward and projects that will not yield sufficient value, or that carry unacceptable risk are stopped. Capturing and reviewing the detail of projects stopped will help ensure this critical non-delivery effort is captured and valued by the organization—something that is often overlooked.

Business Goals

Assign the BRMs the same business goals as their business partners have. Assigning business partner goals will ensure the BRM aligns with the business partner and focuses on projects that assist in delivering to these goals.

4 Responses

  1. Terry Krafthefer says:

    A BRM Survey was a recent topic of conversation of my BRM team. Last July I replaced two retired BRMs to “refill” my team: 5 staff members and me. In talking about the survey we quickly realized that, in the nearly three years that the team has existed, there has been substantial organizational change in the company. What the BRM team does today is quite different from what we were doing 18 months ago: we have matured somewhat, moving towards the vision I have for the team (but we have a ways to go yet). The last time we formally “marketed” ourselves was over two years ago so we decided that, given the changes I mentioned above, we will embark on sommunicating anew what we do and who we are. Then we can survey next year at this time and see, given what we communicated at EOY 2013,how are we doing?

  2. The 1st thing any IT BRM team should do (before they align IT with the business) is to assess the soundness of the overall business strategy, it’s operating model and the ability to effectively leverage IT to scale. If the business can’t articulate a credible, predictable and sustainable plan for execution, supported by the foundation of clearly-defined end-to-end processes, data quality stewardship and the right roles/skills to run it, then stop. Help the business build the foundation they need to effectively leverage IT to sustain performance all the time. Engaging the business any other way is break-fix tactical functional project delivery, not BRM work.

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