In any organization, there needs to be some form of metrics used to determine productivity, quality, and efficiency. These metrics will come from multiple areas to allow senior leadership to make the appropriate decisions for the better of the organization.
Now, unfortunately, there are pitfalls with metrics, as with anything they may not give the full story or they may give a different story altogether. Below are some of the pitfalls that come with dealing in metrics.
Sometimes when people are reporting metrics they may only tell the story that makes them or their team look good. Worse yet they may manipulate the numbers altogether to show that everything is on track with no issues, while in the background it is a dumpster fire.
There have been times where this has been experienced in my time. It never ends well and it creates a rift between leadership and employees as each is upset at the other that nothing was done when things do bubble up and they are in a complete scramble mode.
This personal gain of metrics creates a big trust issue across the organization. It will reverberate up and downstream where employee satisfaction begins to diminish. Once that starts to happen it will be increasingly difficult for senior leadership to right the ship and get things back to the way it was.
Misinterpreting the metrics
This happens more then one would think. An organization could have all the metrics they need and the right reporting structure to display what is occurring. Unfortunately, the story that is being told is one that is not what is actually happening.
It might not be far off and good decisions are being made to get the organization in the direction they need to get in. What will happen is the path they will take will have more pain points along the way. False obstacles can be created and the organization could be doing unwanted work looking for something that is not there.
Doing this additional work could impact the employees as there might be process changes, additional workflows that decrease productivity and increases frustration. . .
Here senior leadership will run into a credibility issue as it could be seen that decisions or changes are made for the sake of making them.
Using incorrect or bad data
This is probably the biggest issue among any organization. Data is available, regardless of where it is stored it can be used to tell the story and provide value. Unfortunately, the wrong data is pulled, the data is corrupted, or the mechanisms to manipulate the data are incorrect.
This will have the biggest negative impact on them all. Wrong decisions are made, frustration will grow, and will have a negative impact on financial aspects. Similar to the personal gain example I gave earlier. The difference here is that it is done purely by accident. Individuals would be at fault, yet it would more than likely be based on a lack of knowledge on the area.
All three examples, if caught, can be easily rectified. It would take a little work to get to where it needs to be, wherein the endstate is that the right story is being told.
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As an additional note, I am conducting a study on interactions, perceptions between Business and Technology groups. It is based on a research study done in 2013 using data from two other studies to find the correlation. When it was completed I wanted to do a proper study with consistent data from the same sources. Here is the link to the study form. It should only take a few minutes of your time to complete. After it is submitted if you can share this amongst your peers, managers, executives that would be greatly appreciated. I feel strongly that this study will help provide useful data to help make great improvements across any organization.