What are success criteria, indicators and baselines?

To make your goals and objectives measurable, it is helpful to define success criteria, indicators of success and a baseline. We describe these with the help of an energy advice projects as an example:

  • Success criteria – what are the results you would like to achieve? (e.g.  for an energy advice project: increased investment in cost-effective energy efficiency measures)
  • Indicators of success – how will you measure these results? (for the previous success criterion, these could be, e.g., the total number of different types of investments – e.g. ceiling insulations - made and the average energy savings to be accomplished by each type of investment)
  • Baseline information – what is the status prior to the start of your project? (for the previous indicator, these could be, for example, the current level of these different types of energy efficiency investments and the average potential for cost-effective investments).

The baseline is important because you cannot take credit for every change that happens after your project (some would have probably happened even without you). On the other hand, however hard you work, the current situation also sets limits on what you can accomplish (for example, some people have already made the investments you aim to promote). Thus, a good description of the current situation allows you to define achievable success criteria and assess your real achievements.