"Easy to Measure" or Meaningful?
I'm not sure where I heard the expression, but I generally love the sentiment of the phrase:
“Just because it's easy to measure doesn't mean it's important.”
Many of our metrics in the business world fall into that category. Do you have a favorite example to share? Is there a metric that you're forced to micromanage just because, for example, a software system reports it? Click “comments” if you have one.
A “certain news network” (I won't mention their name in case you believe the conspiracy theory that my griping is a clever marketing approach) is advertising their morning show as containing less chatter and having more hard news. OK, that's an admirable goal and I'm sure some customers value that. But then, they unleash a crazy sounded metric — “Stories Per Hour” with a huge “SPH” flying across the screen, as if we should start recognizing that like “SPF.”
If you wanted to maximize “SPH” you wouldn't go into much detail, then would you? Hence Jon Stewart's quote (which you can read here if you can't watch the video link):
“People don't want a few stories thoroughly investigated, they want a lot of stories barely mentioned.”