Three Levels of Metric Maturity : Mapping

For any Executive thinking of introducing Metrics, they need to understand that there are three level of Maturity:

  • Step 1: Map Investment to Metrics.
  • Step 2: Use Metrics to demonstrate Success.
  • Step 3: Use Metrics to assist Decision Making.

Your metrics will mature with your (understanding of) your Product. Do not expect to build the perfect Metrics system in one go. Rather your Metrics system will evolve with your product. Consider building a road:

  1. You lay the paving stones where the grass is bare and muddy.
  2. Someone watches the path for a few days to see if is used enough to justify an upgrade. If it is, we build a one lane road.
  3. Next we lay a rubber counting strip across the road to electronically count the cars using the road.
  4. By the time we have a seven lane highway like those in Los Angeles, we have real time tracking of cars and an advanced flow management system that controls the number of cars allowed onto the highway.

muddy path

In other words, start small and evolve your metric system gradually.

Level 1: Map Investment to Metrics.

Before your product owners get to invest, make sure they know what they are trying to improve. Get them to specify which business value metric they are hoping to move. Use Cynefin to help them understand whether their investment should a definite improvement on a metric or whether they should be testing a hypothesis.

Get them to map their Stories (Or Epics) to a business value metric.

  • In order to improve conversion on the pay channel
  • As a customer
  • I want the pages to load faster
  • So that I do not lose focus and attention to the task at hand

( Pay channel conversion is the value metric. )

Once your organisation has simply mapped their work to metrics, you will have a strategic view on where investment is taking place. To illustrate this, lets start by looking at you portfolio without a mapping to metrics.

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 18.43.01

As an Executive, there is little you can do but ask about the details of each Widget and DoDah.

Now lets map each Story/Epic to a Metric…

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 18.43.14

Doesn’t look like much but lets consider some of the analyses we can do:

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 18.43.31

As an executive, you can create an aggregate view of metrics that you cannot create by looking at functionality.

Now you can see that you do not know where most of your investment is going. You can also see whether the other metrics are the right ones to invest in depends on the state of your metrics.

The key is that you do not know which metric you should be investing in until you know the health of all of the metrics in your portfolio. When starting out, you may not have the perfect comprehensive view in which case you’ll have to “lay the paving stones where the grass is bare”.

stone path

The next two blog posts will focus on level 2 and level 3, “Use Metrics to demonstrate Success” and “Use Metrics to assist Decision Making”

Photo Credits:

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About theitriskmanager

A IT programme manager specialising in delivering trading and risk management systems in Investment Banks. I achieve this by focusing on risk rather than cost. A focus on costs can lead to increased costs. View all posts by theitriskmanager

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