If a metric falls in the forest, did it make a sound?
I heard a comment today that really struck home with me:
"If you aren't willing to act on a metric, you might as well not measure it."
This makes sense to me, and also strikes a nerve. I know I've seen any number
of metrics over the years - bug charts, task progress charts, anything and everything
that can be measured. I admit I've been guilty at times of looking at some numbers
and saying "that looks bad!" and waiting for a response, and happy that we had this
great information available.
But having the information is only half the story.
If a metric is off, if it indicates something is late or not getting done, the right
comment is "this measurement isn't what we expect or need - and here is what we can
do about it." Cut a feature, extend the milestone, shuffle some people around
- if you aren't willing to define and accept the remediation actions, you might as
well not even look at the measurement.