I like when my pilot tells me when we will be leaving the ground, when we will be arriving, and which airline I’m on. But I don’t always understand the rest. Usually I’m reading, listening to music or watching a movie. Sometimes all three at once. The pilot will interrupt my bliss by announcing our airspeed, altitude and outside temperature. It’s loud, hard to understand, and altogether unimportant to me. I have no plans to step outside the plane mid-flight, nor am I likely to need to take over as the pilot, so why would I care about these things?
Metrics can be the same way. I can talk all day about our Six Sigma belt utilization rates, our project pipeline contents, our deployment session schedule, or one of a hundred other measures that are, in the end, wind speed. Meaningless to anyone not involved in the work, but really important if you are.
How many of your metrics are like this? Are you sharing things that only matter internally (even if they REALLY matter)? Or are you focused on turning that data into information that others value, understand, and can act on? One set is wind speed, the other is arrival time and gate. Make sure you know which one you’re sharing.