You Get What You Measure

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Measurement involves logic and numbers. The more granular and precise you get, the measurement better reflects specific outcome. We deal with all sorts of measurement in our daily lives, from the volume of water we consume to the gas consumption of our automobile. Professional athletes are meticulous with their calories. Business owners are watchful of their bottomline.

What you measure tells a story. The indicator provides information on progress. The following diagram illustrates the relationship between what you measure and the quality of measures.

You get what you measure

Measurement of action offers information on how well the tasks are coming along. Poor measures of action tend to miss the critical tasks and timeline for delivery, resulting in delays. On the other hand, good measures of action tracks each task closely, providing warning on potential risks. Action monitoring is particularly important for project management.

Measurement of result provides information on how successful you are in attaining the outcome you aim for. Poor measures of result could steer you away from your goal because you react to unsatisfactory results. Inappropriate measures would direct you to action on something irrelevant. The likely outcome is subpar performance. Good measures of result, however, would guide you to focus your energy on the right things. Here, you hone in on whatever is needed to deliver the desired result for success.

What you measure is driven by the purpose of measurement. Hence, it is important to beware of the purpose of measurement. Otherwise, you could be watching the wrong indicators and taking action on work that is totally irrelevant.

© Connie Siu 2014. All rights reserved.


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