Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Using Metrics to Drive Improvement: The Tail Wagging the Dog

Performance metrics help quantify the overall health of an organization or product being developed. Quantitative analysis is a mark of a mature organization. Everyone knows that successful companies collect metrics; therefore, it follows that every company needs to measure things in order to be great. Measurements gauge the efficacy of processes that affect budget, schedule, quality, and safety. Critical business decisions are made based on the results of this data.

Most articles about measurement and analysis opine on the pitfalls of measuring the wrong things, getting buy-in from stakeholders, or how to interpret the numbers collected. Obviously, our ability to make accurate predictions requires proper measurements and good statistical tools. None of that is what this blog entry is about. Instead, I’d like to challenge the very idea that performance metrics themselves ought to drive improvements.1