When Ann All wrote about a presentation in IT metrics given by Mark Tauschek, director of IT Research for Info-Tech Research Group, at November's Midmarket CIO Forum, she got a comment from a reader named mataj who wrote:
In sum: Concoct a metric, which makes you look good, and present it to the suits in a likable and convincing manner. Not a bad tactic, come to think of it.
In reality, Tauschek recommended selecting three to five metrics measuring areas with ample room for improvement. The way he explained it, the IT department should focus on areas that both IT and business users perceive as underperforming. "If you wait until you're asked and don't have an answer, that's problematic," he told Ann in a conversation after the presentation.
Ann believes business executives (and everyone, really) appreciate folks who are honest about performance issues and creates plans to address them, vs. folks who simply concoct metrics to make themselves look good. The latter strategy may work in the short term, but is bound to catch up with the evasive sooner or later.
Focusing on these metrics gives IT executives a chance to consider how they will respond to business inquiries about them -- which they almost inevitably will face some day. Context is valuable here; if performance was adversely impacted due to a vendor problem or unforeseen circumstances, let business executives know.
Ann's post includes Tauschek's six recommended steps for creating an effective IT metrics program.
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