Balance Quantity Metrics with Quality Metrics

As a follow-up to 2 Metrics Startups Need to Start Tracking, the idea of measuring employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction fits in well with a section from Andy Grove’s book High Output Management. In the book he says:

Indicators tend to direct your attention toward what they are monitoring…So because indicators direct one’s activities, you should guard against overreacting. This you can do by pairing indicators, so that together both effect and counter-effect are measured.

The idea is that if there’s too much emphasis on purely quantitative metrics then people will optimize for that and hurt quality. Intuitively, this makes sense as we’ve all seen when the push for one thing reduces the quality of another (e.g. focusing exclusively on signing a large number of customers only to find that some didn’t meet the ideal customer profile and churned quickly).

Whenever designing goals and their corresponding metrics, always keep in mind the balance between quantity and quality, and find pairing indicators.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea of balancing quantity metrics with quality metrics?

One thought on “Balance Quantity Metrics with Quality Metrics

  1. In any given org, I’d wager the pendulum swings between quanity and quality. We seek the middle ground don’t we? Speaking purely from a sales perspective, if you spend all your time vetting quality you’ll never make quantity. At some point we have to “move fast and break things” and hope we have the right data to run towards the correct goal.

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