Fighting the corporate stat monster
July 23, 2010 10:01 AM Subscribe
I work in a technical company where our ability to deliver fixes for technical problems is measured by a bunch of statistics. Our team seems to lost track of our real goals (solving problems) and instead cares more about improving the stats even if it means we don't solve problems as well as we could. How do I get everyone to understand the real needs of the job and to use stats as a supporting tool rather than the end goal?
posted by aTrumpetandaDream to work & money (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
So we have a metric, TFT (Total Fix Time), which measures the time till a fix is delivered. We have a goal of keeping this above a certain level.
Last week in a meeting one of my colleagues announced that we could improve this metric by closing the case, and thus generating the TFT, when the case was passed on the development team. The only problem being we would have to devise a seperate method of then tracking the actual fix being created and delivered outside of our case tracking system. This would improve the TFT.
My response was this was a very bad idea. It would complicate the system making it harder to track and get fixes to the customer. The only advantage would be an improved TFT but customer service would be worse.
I explained that if an alternative system was better providing quicker fixes then fair enough but it was wrong, and indicative of the mindset we shouldn't have, if the only reason to change the system was to improve the TFT regardless of how fast the actual fix was delivered to the customer.
I find it kind of depressing. The important thing is we deliver a good service and we keep trying to improve. To help us do that we measure some metrics. However, many people in the company lose focus and see improving the metric as the goal rather than improving the service.
One argument of my colleague is that we often have to provide reports to management, internally and at our customer, and we can win or lose contracts based on these statistics. My response was while that may be a minor consideration it pales in to insignificance compared to the actual quality of service we deliver and we should never accept worsening service to improve a statistic.
It's worrying because the low level management I deal with seem to favour the improve TFT in any way possible because that is what they are judged on. I'm sure higher up they care about the service delivered but I'm stuck down here waging a one man battle.
So am I right? Or have I lost perspective here? It's classic 'the map is not the territory' stuff and a basic business problem, right?
Can anyone tell whether you think I am right or wrong ? If I am right what is the best way of attempting to correct this mindset in the company? Are there any business books that discuss this issue well? Have you ever come across this in your own business?