How Many Things Can You Measure?

They say that you get what you measure in an organization. You can also measure just about everything. So, how many measurements should we focus on?

When putting together business cases as a product manager, we could include a hundred metrics: from sales by customer to material costs. However, only two things mattered in deciding if it was a go or a no go: Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Net Present Value (NPV). It was easy to compare investment opportunities when you only had to compare 2 metrics, as opposed to the 100 or so things that contributed to those metrics.

In the 4 Disciplines of Execution (http://vimeo.com/46230250) Chris McChesney says that there are diminishing returns when an organization focuses on more than three goals. I don’t know if McChesney’s research is scientifically valid, but it aligns with my personal experience.

So, how many goals do you have? Do you have too many goals upon which to practically focus?

If you have too many goals for practical pursuit at the moment, which are the most important ones? Can some of the less important goals be the subject of focus after having achieved the most important goals?

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