Using Metrics For Better Management
I love metrics. I love having data at my fingertips that tells me relevant information on what I’m working on. If you’ve ever seen me do a presentation, you know that I always start off with some data to help set an expectation of what I’m going to talk about.
Metrics have made a powerful impact in my organization. As we moved more and more to tracking things, we find greater and greater success.
My friend Susanne Dansey with Purple Cow quoted me recently, and I can’t take any credit for the quote, as it’s something that was repeated to me over and over by colleague after colleague, and I credit Microsoft for teaching me the mantra.
"You can’t manage what you can’t measure"
My Q2 goals have all involved improvements to our measurement processes. We focused first on utilization, understanding what our team does and how they do it, ensuring we measure time correctly. We’re moving on to redefine our charge codes, and the way we classify work type. It’s a lot of mechanics, and we spend a lot of time on it.
If you’re driving a car, you require a pretty steady stream of data to ensure you’re operating well. Your speedometer ensures you’re going the right speed, you keep an eye on the gas tank, your GPS for directions, your mirrors to know what is around you, and even the feel of the car to know how it’s running. But driving your car on feel alone would be impossible.
The same is true of business. Without good metrics, you can’t know how well the business is running without knowing the details. How efficient is your service team? How profitable? How does your sales pipe look? Is your marketing functioning?
It’s important to take the time and measure all the parts, so as you adjust and make decisions, you know how well you’re doing. If you make a change to the way services are delivered, did you make it better? You only know if you know how well it worked before, and thus an improvement or slowdown in service will be shown via those metrics. Sales suffer from much the same problem. If you don’t measure, how do you know how well you’re doing?
As solution providers, we focus heavily on process and procedure. Each should have a KPI and metric we can leverage to see how we’re doing.
This has the added advantage of being able to show to our vendor partners specifics about how well we’re doing, and they can see how their investments in us will result in actual differences in performance. Sharing these metrics becomes a massive differentiator between solution providers, and should be embraced.
Embrace the numbers. They’ll help you drive your car better, and help you drive your business better.