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Friday, November 13, 2009

Visiting A Metric Forum, A Strategic Management Resource

In recent years, there has been a movement in the field of management towards more objective, fact- and observation-based approaches. These include the balanced scorecard approach and other similar management schemes, which aim to extract from relevant data some conclusions and information to be used in making decisions. This is in contrast with previously formulated management systems, which were less grounded on actual observations, and which provided vaguer instructions and

Having some sort of system for gathering data, processing it, and evaluating the resulting information has become one of the basic principles of most management practices today. This is logical because this would lead to the ability to make quantitative predictions, which are useful when trying to decide how to allocate resources or set up programs. When backed up by objective data, these predictions and the decisions based on them are quite reliable. The question then becomes, what aspects
of performance should be measured, and how?

Metrics refer to the standards by which these various aspects may be measured. These are well-defined quantities that yield useful interpretations, and that can be actually observed and measured. Obviously, many possible metrics may be defined. But not all of these metrics would be that useful; it would depend on the particular organization and its situation.

Hence one of the most important management choices is selecting the proper set of relevant and practical metrics to actually use and keep track of. Not choosing enough metrics would result in too little data, while choosing too many might result in confusion from too much information. The key is to select only the most relevant metrics, such that there aren’t too many, but those that are there are enough to give the complete picture.

Some of the important metrics can be deduced from first principles. Management strategies can be developed by theorizing and speculating, hence coming up with various proposed aspects to be measured. Using this approach would have the benefit that the metrics are grounded on firm reasoning.

This speculative approach should be tempered, however, with a consideration for real world data and observations. Theoretical and hypothetical metric must still be tested as to their feasibility and actual effectiveness when predicting.

This is where visiting and participating in a metric forum may come in handy. By getting feedback and tips from other people in the field of management, one would be able to come to better conclusions.

A metric forum can also help in terms of evaluating the data itself, gathered using the selected metrics. Proper evaluation of metric data usually requires knowledge of how the various aspects (as measured by the metrics) interact. This is usually gained through experience. Newer managers may ask questions and get advice from more experienced people at the metric forum.

A metric forum is a valuable resource that should be taken advantage of. Within the online community, questions about the proper use, implementation, and evaluation of different business metrics may be discussed. With help from a good metric forum, using these metrics in management becomes much easier.


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