Moving targets

Phil Dourado has a good post on the pitfalls of management-by-metrics including the absurdity of ambulances waiting outside hospitals with their patients. (Because A&E have a target, set by goverment, for processing patients and the clock starts when they come in through the door)

1 thought on “Moving targets

  1. Graham Hill

    Johnnie

    As the old saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed. What gets managed gets done!” Or not as the case may be.

    Sadly, these things are all too common, in the public and private sectors.

    Part of the problem is getting stuck in ‘metricitus’, a sad affliction that seems to infect the well intentioned but unintentionally ill-informed manager.

    Metricitus goes through four generally recognised stages:

    STAGE 1 – NO SYMPTOMS AT ALL

    Victims do not have any metrics at all. Things just muddle along as they have always done. This can be suprisingly efficient and effective as things have had years to refine themselves.

    STAGE 2 – A SHOCK followed by RAMPANT METRICITUS

    Victims generally receive a shock of some kind. Generally a newsworthy horror story for the public sector, or falling behind competitors for the private sector. Victims often catch the ‘metrics bug’ as part of their recovery. Metricitus sets in when they loose all sense of proportion and start to measure absolutely everything in sight without any understanding of either how the bigger system works or worse still, how their Metricitus changes the system for the worse.

    Many government departments are here. We all and the economy suffer as a result.

    STAGE 3 – BALANCED METRICITUS

    Not all victims reach this stage. Those who do, measure a ‘balanced scorecard’ of different metrics purporting to be the lifeblood of the system. Rather than measure hundreds of measures, they now measure cascades of 10-20. The measures are usually developed centrally by hordes of metricians, lest the metrics should be dirtied by being exposed to front-line workers. They are often ritually presented with great fanfare at quarterly analysts meetings. Definately an improvement over Rampant Metricitus but still shows signs of Metricitus.

    Many businesses are here. Customers, staff and partners, and the economy suffer as a result.

    STAGE 4 – SIMPLE LOCAL & LONG METRICS

    The final stage and most healthy for the bigger system is just measuring the simple things that drive the health of the system over the long-term. And all done as close to the front-line as possible. Gone are the 100 page quarterly reports, the analysts presentations and the legions of metricians. Instead, just the metrics that matter remain, measured continuously by those whose job they manage and monitored over the long-term.

    Tongie in cheek I know, but most organisations do go through these four stages as they contract Metricitus and hopefully, eventually revover.

    Graham Hill

    Independent CRM Consultant

    Interim CRM Manager

    Reply

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