While I was teaching a performance management workshop, I asked an attendee for an example metric that he was using to track performance. The attendee, who worked for a city’s public works department, immediately replied “# of miles of streets cleaned”. Before I could ask any questions, he proudly added “and we cleaned more than 1000 miles last quarter; up 10% since the previous quarter”.
I’m no maintenance worker but 1000 miles and up 10% both seemed like good performance. Therein, however, lies a common problem with metrics: lack of context. The attendee had sat through most of my workshop and was trying to provide additional information about the actual miles of streets cleaned by comparing it to the previous quarter’s actual value. Clearly, an increase of 10% is easier for me – as a non-expert – to understand than the raw number.
Read the full blog post in Managing by Walking Around.