Three Ways to Ensure You Collect the Right Metrics
Most companies want to collect more data to be used for fact-based decision making. However, companies struggle actually implementing a strong metrics program. There is a reason – it is really hard! However, there are things you can do to ensure you collect good metrics without going overboard.
1. Make Sure Your Metrics Add Value
Identifying, gathering and leveraging the right mix of metrics are ways to add value to an organization or a project. The value can be quantified in a number of areas including:
Improved performance of the overall project fulfillment and delivery process
Improved estimating for future projects
Validation of duration, cost, effort and quality objectives for the project
Identification and communication of best practices
Metrics provide a more factual and quantitative basis for understanding how you are doing and the things that can be done better. Without at least some basic metric information, all discussions on performance and improvement are based on anecdotal evidence, perceptions and guesses.
2. Use the Metrics that You Collect
You don’t want to collect metrics just for the sake of collecting them. That is just a waste of time. If certain metrics are required by your organization, collect them. In addition, you should collect any other metrics that are needed by your particular project. However, if you don’t have a purpose for the metrics, or if your project is not long enough that you can really leverage the information, these customized project-specific metrics are not worth collecting for your project.
3. Compare the Cost of Collecting a Metric vs. the Benefit
There is a cost to collecting and managing a metrics process. In many cases, the cost to collect and leverage a certain type of metric is prohibitive. These metrics should not be pursued. Other metrics are interesting, but do not provide the type of information that can be leveraged for improvement. The bottom line is that the cost to gather each metric must be balanced against the potential benefit that will be gained. Start by gathering metrics that are required by the organization. Then add metrics that have the lowest cost and effort to collect and can provide the highest potential benefit.
In summary, metrics collection and analysis is hard work. All organizations should make fact-based decisions based on supporting metrics. However, make sure the metrics provide value, are used effectively, and are not too costly to correct.