Sunday, February 8, 2009

To do or not to do that is to measure

Somewhere there is a thin border between the type of metrics needed and metrics offered. What I saw over the years is that projects generate a huge number of data. Based on experience I noticed that most of the data was useful to provide information in a project and not desired in the other.

Translating data into information is usually time consuming. This raises the question to me: should I spend time to provide all information I'm able to deliver? I would answer with a "NO".
Should I stop collecting data? Again I say "NO".

There are several tools available to provide information about the test process. Usually I end up with creating some kind of cockpit in MS Excel. The benefit of this is the ability to combine data from several sources and turn them into information.

To get the data from other tools in MS Excel I export the data from other tools into a readable format for this spreadsheet tool. The advantage here is that I am able to conserve historical data.

Instead of turning all data into information I start with some obvious ones. Those management need to get information about the process and those I need to steer processes. I learned that after starting presenting nice columns of data and charts management is asking for more different information or the already presented information in more detail or less detail.

Based on conserving historical data I’m able to use those also instead of staring measuring from scratch.

The benefits of not presenting all information you are able to give will be immediately saving time as you don’t offer all information. Being adaptive for new information requests will give you the benefit that things are changing because of presented information.

I believe defining and creating metrics should lead to change in behavior, attitude or trust. And we should be aware of creating false trust. Keep asking what might change if metrics are collected and presented. If nothing change, the do not create metrics. Certainly avoid the attitude: I do this because it is written or I do this always.

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