Joeseph Raynus stated “if you measure you know, if you guess you miss”. A great saying to rally a metrics program around but it can only be true if you are measuring the right things and asking the right questions. Failure to ask the right questions or measure the right attributes will yield misinformation. Measurement frameworks that tie measures to business goals help ensure alignment at least at a strategic level but frameworks are only part of the solution. Frameworks begin to lose traction as the level of measures and metrics get farther away from the pinnacle of organizational need or strategy. As an organization matures, measures evolve from just providing information on whether strategies are being met into tools to manage the day to day operations. As this evolution occurs the complexity of tracking individual measures and metrics back to the organizations goals becomes more arduous and less effective.

The problem is that finding a mechanism to ensure linkage requires more effort to define and then requires a layer of overhead to make sure that linkage stays in place. As metrics professionals we need to be deadly aware of the point when tracking the linkage becomes more than the value of collecting and reporting the metric at a strategic level. I suggest a radical approach to action when that balance is reached or breached. Let’s start with the easy part of my approach, at an operational level if you need to report a measure or metric to your boss and that boss will report it up the food change the linkage needs to be ensured. Now we get radical, if the data is not reported up the food change BUT you are using the measure to manage your work, ensuring a linkage may well be pure overhead. Note that as a contrarian I would ask why you have a critical metric (defined as a metric you need to measure do you need to manage) that would not you would not need to report up the food chain and therefore require linkage. Smacks having two sets of books but I am sure someone could define a scenario where it makes sense. Bottom line measure is good, linking measures to organization level goals makes sense to a point recognize that point and don’t push it if it doesn’t add value.