Requirements Development

Measures of Effectiveness (MOE)

Measures of Effectiveness (MOE) are designed to correspond to accomplishing mission/system objectives and achieving desired results. They quantify the results obtained by a system and may be expressed as probabilities that the system will perform as required. MOEs measure changes in a system’s capability, operational environment, or behavior related to achieving a goal, achieving an objective, or producing an effect, but task performance is not measured. MOEs may be further decomposed into Measures of Performance (MOP) and Measures of Suitability (MOS).

Definition:  Measure of Effectiveness (MOE) is a measure of the ability of a system to meet its specified needs (or requirements) from a particular viewpoint. This measure may be quantitative or qualitative and it allows comparable systems to be ranked. These effectiveness measures are defined in the problem-space. Implicit in the meeting of problem requirements is that threshold values must be exceeded. Smith and Clark, (2004)

J7 Commander’s Assessment Handbook (2011)

Measures of Effectiveness (MOE) in Defense Acquisitions

In defense acquisitions, the Capability Based Assessment (CBA) defines the MOEs and articulates them in the Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) and Capabilities Development Document (CDD).  The Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) should reflect broadly defined, operational-level measures of effectiveness or measures of performance to describe needed capabilities. [2]

Measures of Effectiveness (MOE) Best Practices

Measures of Effectiveness should use assessment Indicators that are relevant, measurable, responsive, and resourced so there is no false impression of task or objective accomplishment. They should be easily understood and evaluated. Complicated MOE is more difficult to evaluate and can lead to confusion and a lack of understanding of the real issue. A mix of quantitative and qualitative indicators is used to evaluate MOEs to mitigate the risk of misinterpretation and overcome the limits of raw data in understanding complex situations.

Characteristics of Measure of Effectiveness (MOE) Indicators: [1]

  • Relates to performance
  • Objective
  • Simple to state
  • Testable
  • Complete
  • Clear
  • States any time dependency
  • States any environmental conditions
  • Can be measured quantitatively (if required, may be measured statistically or as a probability)
  • Easy to measure
  • Select only MoEs that measure the degree to which the desired outcome is achieved
  • Use the same MoEs to measure more than one condition when appropriate
  • Structure so that they have measurable, collectible, and relevant indicators
  • Write as statements (not questions)
  • Maximize clarity

Developing Measures of Effectiveness (MOE) Indicators

The goal in developing MOEs is to create clear and appropriate “Indicators” to inform an evaluation. To avoid creating the misleading impression that an objective or goal to be accomplished, MOEs should use assessment metrics that are measurable, quantifiable, adaptable, resourced, and pertinent. A MOE could be expressed into five elements:

  1. Short Title: the name;
  2. Definition: a clear description of what is measuring;
  3. Unit of Measure: may be quantifiable or qualitative;
  4. Benchmark: a value that would define the desired state in terms of the particular aspect of the operational environment being measured;
  5. Formula: an expression of how changes in the value affect the MoE (i.e., is it more or less better?)

Measures of Performance (MOP)

A measure of a system’s performance is expressed as speed, payload, range, time-on-station, frequency, or other distinctly quantifiable performance features. Several MOPs and/or Measures of Suitability (MOSs) may be related to the achievement of a particular Measure of Effectiveness (MOE).

Definition: “Measures of Performance (MOP) are necessary for correlation to specific MOEs in order to determine the optimal levels of effort for objective achievement. A careful analysis of the relationship between MOPs and MOEs reveals the need to shift COAs if the current plan is inefficient, or have adverse effects.” Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance (JCISFA) Planning Guidance

Measures of Suitability (MOS)

A measure of an item’s ability to be supported in its intended operational environment. MOSs typically relate to readiness or operational availability and, hence, reliability, maintainability, and the item’s support structure. Several MOSs and/or Measures of Performance (MOPs) may be related to the achievement of a particular Measure of Effectiveness (MOE).

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Updated: 1/20/2024

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