How not to use metrics?

MetricsLet’s assume that graphs above present the performance of two different teams in the same company. The black line is an external metric shared with the management, the blue one is observed internally. The black lines are exactly the same so both teams were able to reduce errors significantly to the same level – the goal was achieved.  One may say that there is no difference between these two teams. For sure the difference is not observable for a management. Project was finished successfully so we are waiting for a next challenges.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of differences between these two teams. The blue line gives us a knowledge about how the goal was achieved. The first team (graph on the left) made investments which reduced a production time and as a result reduced errors. The idea was simple: the better production process less errors. The team is ready for the next challenges without worrying about errors during the production. The second team was able to reduce errors by working overtime, checking data many times to get the required quality. The idea was simple: more problems solved less errors. The team won’t be able to do more next time without hiring additional resources.

What do you think about black and blue lines?

References:

  1. https://martinfowler.com/articles/useOfMetrics.html
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