7 Types Of Metrics
John Spacey, updated on January 15, 2017
Metrics are meaningful measurements and calculations that are used to direct and control an organization. They come in several basic types:
Goal MetricsMany organizations have established the principle that strategy and performance goals need to be measurable. As such, it is common for metrics to be developed for the purposes of strategic management, goal setting and performance management. Not all metrics measure goals. For example, metrics can also be used for decision making, problem solving and optimization.
Key Performance IndicatorKey performance indicator (KPI) is a term for a metric that is critical to an organization. It is common for organizations, departments and teams to develop a large number of metrics. The term KPI is used to distinguish those metrics that are critical to strategy. In most cases, a KPI is used to measure goals.
Qualitative MetricsMetrics that are based on a human judgement such as a rating. For example, customer satisfaction is typically a qualitative metric that results from asking customers to rate their satisfaction with a product, service or experience. Although qualitative metrics result from complex human judgements, they are typically represented as a single number.
Quantitative MetricsQuantitative metrics are a class of metrics that are based on numbers. They can be financial or non-financial in nature. Examples of quantitative inputs to metrics include revenue, customer counts or electricity usage measured in watts.
Actionable MetricsA metric that be can directly used to make decisions or optimize work. It is common for organizations to mandate that all metrics be actionable.
Informational MetricsA metric that isn't actionable. People find information interesting and may develop metrics that are unlikely to change the course of decisions. This is widely considered a distraction and unnecessary expense. For example, if a car displayed the temperature of its muffler on its dash, some people might find it interesting but this isn't actionable like a fuel gauge or speedometer. As such, it might be considered an unnecessary distraction.
Vanity MetricsMetrics that are designed to be impressive as opposed to useful.
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