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Metrics suck because they are indirect measurements, so by optimising the metric you may not be optimising what you intend. There's no reason why a more complex metric will necessarily be more directly aligned with a goal. This thinking suggests that by adding more complexity your metrics become more aligned, but it seems these patches could also take you further and further from anything real.



By a "complex" metric, I didn't mean that the metric is necessarily complex to compute or represent. Rather, the complexity of the metric is a measure of the breadth and complexity of the activities which have an effect on the result.

Take operating profit, for example. It's fairly straightforward to compute (not as simple in practice as one might imagine, though), and it's just one number. Pretty much anything going on in the company has an effect on the bottom line, in one way or another. It's the result of complex activity.

Obviously, this was a poor choice of words. Any suggestions for a better word?


I see your point: your complexity relates to the system being measured rather than the measurement. But I'm afraid I don't have a single word that could make it clearer.




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