Rush to Metricment

Let me begin by apologizing to the English purists in the audience. I fully realize that I just took the liberty of creating a word as if I was playing scrabble and wanted that one big word to win the game. But read on and I think you will get the intent here.

I am in the middle of reading Kaplan and Norton’s The Balanced Scorecard and through out the first 100 pages there are numerous references to metrics in the development of the scorecards. I further refer to Mikel and Schroeder in their book on six sigma make the point that every organization is confronted with five conditions that affect the business:

  1. We don’t know what we don’t know
  2. We can’t act on what we don’t know
  3. We can’t know until we search
  4. We can’t search for what we don’t question
  5. We don’t question that we don’t measure

I am not questioning the value of metrics and measurements. What I am questioning is the rush to rely so heavily on metrics for everything and anything. When we make that rush to metricment we tend to make our case solely on the metrics involved and not the human factor involved within our organizations. So my suggestion is take the metrics for what they are – a way to measure how we are doing on the path to reach our goals. They are not the end all of factors that indicate our successes. Find a middle ground between the human factors and the mechanical metrics that we use to evaluate our organizations.

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