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Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) were once considered as inefficient devices, as the wall-plug efficiency (WPE) was merely a few percent at room temperature. But this situation has changed in the past few years, as dramatic enhancements to the output power and WPE have been made for InP-based mid-IR QCLs. Room temperature continuous-wave (CW) output power as high as 2.8 W and WPE as high as 15% have now been demonstrated for individual devices. Along with the fundamental exploration of refining the design and improving the material quality, a consistent determination of important device performance parameters allows for strategically addressing each component that can be improved potentially. In this paper, we present quantitative experimental evidence backing up the strategies we have adopted to improve the WPE for QCLs with room temperature CW operation.