Why measure?

April 10, 2008 at 11:12 pm | Posted in Business | Leave a comment

At halftime of football games, coaches are handed a slew of statistics from the 1st half of play. I remember at one point i was looking at over 30, and I was just a high school coach — imagine the pros! During one game I noticed we were all huddled around admiring or bemoaning this or that statistic while the kids sat about 20 yards away. And sat. And sat. That weekend, we whittled our halftime review stats back to five.

Recently we hit the end of the first quarter. Not of a football game, but for 2008. Spreadsheets, databases, and BI tools are hard at work. Numbers, ratios, increases, decreases, graphs and charts whiz through our heads day and night. So much so that stats can become and end in themselves while the business sits. And sits. And sits. A good question I am asking myself these days is “why am I measuring that?” If I can’t apply it to a business action or consequence, I need to let it go. And, I also need to really fight the urge to torture the numbers to defend a point rather than exploring the numbers to discover a hidden gem.

“Why am I measuring that?” I don’t have a universal answer, but it’s just a good question to ask the next time I open excel.

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