Too many metrics?

15 Jul 2010 Sandeep Mehta

The article The Only KPIs Your Firm Will Ever Need in discusses why too many metrics are not value adding:

Measurement for measurement sake’s is senseless, as quality pioneer Philip Crosby understood when he uttered, ‘Building a better scale doesn’t change your weight.’

They seem to contrast it from the McKinsey maxim:

“What you can measure you can manage.”

 The example they have is of Continental turn around, where Mr. Bethune focused on just three high-level metrics:

  1. On-time arrival
  2. Lost luggage
  3. Customer complaints
Clearly, these are important for an airline.  However they are not the only metrics that need to be monitored in an operating airline.  The article makes sense and it is important for Managers to have dashboards that have unique metrics – Key Predictive Indicators.  However, in most cases, KPI need to be broken down into constituents that can be controlled to improve efficiencies.  So it is not that KPI replace detailed metrics – they provide a way to consolidate many metrics into meaningful indicators and help managers easily detect and eliminate problems.

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