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Measure or Metric? Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other?

Posted by Diane Kulisek on December 7, 2009

Here is another LinkedIn ‘Best Answer’.  Anshuman Tiwari, a Change Management and Business Excellence Professional within the Information and Technology Services industry and  an active member of the American Society for Quality in India, asked the following LinkedIn Question:

“How would you differentiate between Measure and Metric?  Measure and Metric are often used terms in Balanced Scorecard and the Baldrige framework. How would you explain the difference. Do you have any examples?”

Below is the answer I posted, which Anshuman rated as the ‘Best’ answer of six provided by LinkedIn Members:

“The only distinction that I think might be able to be made does not appear to be available in any of the literature I’ve checked. I’m basing this only upon my personal experience.

I would have to say that a measure is usually performed to gather information for later analysis or to assess conformance with a known specification.

Meanwhile, I would say that a metric is a collection of measurements performed consecutively over a period of time (or in relation to some other progressive scale) that reflects ongoing performance toward attainment of a desired goal or ultimate outcome. Some measures, however, may also appear in analysis of priority or importance with regard to attainment of a goal or may influence allocation of resources for ultimate attainment of a goal (such as might be the case for cumulative Pareto analysis or 80-20 Rule determinations).

In a nutshell, then, I would have to say that a measure tends to be tactical and a metric tends to be strategic.

It certainly should be defined somewhere, officially.”

This was not part of my LinkedIn Answer, but below are the Google-derived definitions of ‘measure’:

Related phrases:   performance measure   unit of measure   made to measure   common measure   tape measure   oregon ballot measure 7   measure for measure   beyond measure   linear measure   how to measure a planet

Definitions of measure on the Web:

  • any maneuver made as part of progress toward a goal; “the situation called for strong measures”; “the police took steps to reduce crime”
  • how much there is or how many there are of something that you can quantify
  • bill: a statute in draft before it becomes law; “they held a public hearing on the bill”
  • measurement: the act or process of assigning numbers to phenomena according to a rule; “the measurements were carefully done”; “his mental measurings proved remarkably accurate”
  • standard: a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated; “the schools comply with federal standards”; “they set the measure for all subsequent work”
  • determine the measurements of something or somebody, take measurements of; “Measure the length of the wall”
  • meter: (prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse
  • quantify: express as a number or measure or quantity; “Can you quantify your results?”
  • musical notation for a repeating pattern of musical beats; “the orchestra omitted the last twelve bars of the song”
  • have certain dimensions; “This table surfaces measures 20inches by 36 inches”
  • measuring stick: measuring instrument having a sequence of marks at regular intervals; used as a reference in making measurements
  • evaluate or estimate the nature, quality, ability, extent, or significance of; “I will have the family jewels appraised by a professional”; “access all the factors when taking a risk”
  • a container of some standard capacity that is used to obtain fixed amounts of a substance
    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
  • Measure is the second album from Matt Pond PA, released in 2000.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measure_(album)
  • A jigger or measure is a bartending tool used to measure liquor, which is typically then poured into a cocktail shaker. It is named for the unit of liquid it typically measures, a 1.5 fluid ounce (~44 ml) jigger or shot. …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measure_(bartending)

If we narrow our search for a definition to ‘performance measure’, we’ll find that ‘measure’ and ‘metric’ are terms used interchangeably.  There are subsearches provided for strategic performance measures and for tactical performance measures, however.  Here are the Google-based ‘performance measure’ definitions:

Related phrases:   technical performance measure   strategic performance measure   tactical performance measure   performance measure/indicator

Definitions of performance measure on the Web:

So, for ‘tactical performance measure’ we have the following Google-based definition:

A yardstick or standard used to measure progress toward achieving a tactical objective; a measure of how well we are doing; an output measure or a …
www.blackerbyassoc.com/SPGloss.html

And, for ‘strategic performance measure’ we have this:

A yardstick or standard used to measure progress toward achieving a strategic objective. a measure of how well we are doing; an outcome measure.
www.blackerbyassoc.com/SPGloss.html

Hmmm….. those look…. suspiciously… like the exact same definition.  Let’s see what the Google-based definitions are for ‘metric’:

Related phrases:   metric ton   metric system   metric space   metric structure   metric conversions   metric units   metric tonne   routing metric   euclidean metric

Definitions of metric on the Web:

  • metric function: a function of a topological space that gives, for any two points in the space, a value equal to the distance between them
  • metric unit: a decimal unit of measurement of the metric system (based on meters and kilograms and seconds); “convert all the measurements to metric units”; “it is easier to work in metric”
  • system of measurement: a system of related measures that facilitates the quantification of some particular characteristic
  • measured: the rhythmic arrangement of syllables
    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
  • Metric is a Canadian New Wave/indie rock band. Originally formed in 1998 in New York City, they are currently based in Toronto, Ontario, Montreal …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_(band)
  • In differential geometry, the notion of a metric tensor can be extended to an arbitrary vector bundle. …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_(vector_bundle)
  • In general relativity, the metric tensor (or simply, the metric) is the fundamental object of study. It may loosely be thought of as a generalization of the gravitational field familiar from Newtonian gravitation. …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_(general_relativity)
  • A metric is a standard unit of measure, such as meter or mile for length, or gram or ton for weight, or more generally, part of a system of parameters, or systems of measurement, or a set of ways of quantitatively and periodically measuring, assessing, controlling or selecting a person, process …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_(unit)
  • A measure for something; a means of deriving a quantitative measurement or approximation for otherwise qualitative phenomena (esp. …
    en.wiktionary.org/wiki/metric
  • metrics – prosody: the study of poetic meter and the art of versification
    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
  • Metrics is a property of a route in computer networking, consisting of any value used by routing algorithms to determine whether one route should perform better than another (the route with the lowest metric is the preferred route). …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrics_(networking)
  • Measurable element of a service, process or function. The real value of metrics is seen in their change over time. Reliance on a single metric is not advised, especially if it has the potential to affect User behaviour in an undesirable way.
    www.infodiv.unimelb.edu.au/knowledgebase/itservices/a-z/m.html
  • A standard of measurement. Software metrics are the statistics describing the structure or content of a program. A metric should be a real objective measurement of something such as number of bugs per lines of code.
    www.software-testing-outsourcing.com/glossary.html
  • A general term describing a measurable value available from a particular system or service (see also Counters). The metrics that are available depend on the monitor type and configuration of the system. …
    mon15ny450.doubleclick.net/SiteScope/docs/SiteScopeTerms.htm
  • A standard for measurement.
    www.icaa.cc/member_wellnessworkgroups/benchmarks_workgroup/Benchmarks%20Definitions%20Worksheet.doc

Defining the word ‘metric’ seems to use the term ‘measure’, a lot.  I dunno.  What do YOU think the differences are between a metric and a measure?

While you’re pondering that, feel free to download copies of my presentation handout about Quality Metrics and Dashboards from the CAPAtrak Website or enjoy the free downloadable Simple Dashboard and Balanced Scorecard Templates.

Posted in Blogroll, Philosophy and Metaphysics, Quality-Related LinkedIn Answers, Social Commentary, Tools and Methods, Science and Technology, Websites | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Quality-Related Answers on LinkedIn from Diane

Posted by Diane Kulisek on November 30, 2009

As I was updating some of my information on LinkedIn this morning, it occurred to me that I’ve shared much more information about quality there than on this blog.  While I want to keep the information I share here fresh, sometimes I’m a bit too busy with other urgent matters to compose a new message.  In cases like that, I think you might find some of the answers I’ve posted on LinkedIn of interest… especially those that have been rated highly by LinkedIn users.

Before I get into that, here are a few facts about my LinkedIn activities to help put things into perspective. 

I joined LinkedIn on April 30th, 2006.  Today, I have 365 first degree connections (people I personally know and who are connected directly to me through LinkedIn), 162,200+ second degree connections (people who know people connected to me), and 6,814,700+ third level connections (people who know people who are connected to me), for a total LinkedIn network of 6,977,300+ people.  My LinkedIn network has grown by 30,677 people in the past week.    

Members of my nearly 7 million person network are from all over the world but are largely located in New York, San Francisco, India and Los Angeles, each with 5% of my total LinkedIn network membership, and Chicago, with 3% (for a collective total of 23%).  That means that roughly 200,000 to 350,000 people in each of 4 major U.S. cities and in India are accessible through my network… and can interact with me… via LinkedIn Answers.  India, Los Angeles and London are my fastest growing LinkedIn network regions.

Many of my direct LinkedIn connections are in quality-related professions, however, there is no ‘quality’ profession category to identify oneself with on LinkedIn (and, yes, I’ve mentioned this to LinkedIn‘s management team), so 38% of the industry-categorized members of my LinkedIn community currently fall into the following fields: 

  • 14% Information Technology and Services;
  • 07% Staffing & Recruiting (no surprise there, eh?);
  • 06% Management Consulting (a.k.a. ‘previously employed’, also not a surprise);
  • 06% Computer Software (a.k.a. Information Technology and Services – the sequel); and
  • 05% Human Resources (a.k.a. ‘Staffing & Recruiting’ – part deux).
  •  

    I change my LinkedIn industry category declaration to suit my circumstances or my mood.  I’ve used ‘management consulting’, ‘medical device manufacturing’, ‘process industries’, ‘electrical and electronics’, ‘government relations’ and, currently, ‘public safety’.  They’re all true, of course, or were at the time I used them.

    I’ve also changed my title, to suit my mood.  Currently, I bill myself as: “Organizational Excellence and Quality Assurance Leader”.  I used to be a “Senior Quality Professional” until I read that “Senior” means “Old” on a resume.  Then I was just a “Quality Professional”, until somebody mentioned (rightly) that all professionals are (or should be) quality professionals.  Then I was a “Quality Assurance Professional”, until another person pointed out that, since Lean and Six Sigma has been around, people don’t hire actual “Quality Assurance Professionals”, anymore.  So, I compromised with kind of a play off of the American Society for Quality’s Certification Designation for a Quality Assurance Manager:  “Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence” and changed the word “Manager” to “Leader” (mostly to try to stop people from sending me first level management job leads — which don’t seem to work very well for me).  I’m now calling myself an “Organizational Excellence and Quality Assurance Leader”.  I think I need to drop “Assurance” and change it to “Improvement”.  The word “Assurance” is apparently still somewhat politically incorrect, in the current job market.  I’ll do that today.

    Anyway, continuing on… according to LinkedIn… I’ve posted 175 answers, as of today.  Unfortunately, not all of those who ask questions on LinkedIn rate the answers they receive (which is really just a form of thanks for those of us who took the time to answer), but for those of my posted answers that were rated, 70 were considered ‘good’ or ‘best’, with 32 falling into the ‘good’ rating and 38 into the ‘best’ answer rating.  23 of the ‘best’ answers I’ve posted are in relation to the topic: “Quality Management and Standards”, but there are many other answer categories that I’ve provided ‘best’ answers for.  Following is the LinkedIn breakout of my ‘best’ answers by topic: 

    • Quality Management and Standards (23 best answers)
    • Organizational Development (2 best answers)
    • Manufacturing (2 best answers)
    • Project Management (2 best answers)
    • Supply Chain Management (2 best answers)
    • Certification and Licenses (1 best answer)
    • Mentoring (1 best answer)
    • Event Marketing and Promotions (1 best answer)
    • Personnel Policies (1 best answer)
    • Business Analytics (1 best answer)
    • Corporate Governance (1 best answer)
    • Labor Relations (1 best answer)
    • Inventory Management (1 best answer)
    • Career Management (1 best answer)
    • Professional Organizations (1 best answer)
    • Ethics (1 best answer)
    • Starting Up (1 best answer)
    • E-Commerce (1 best answer)
    • Computers and Software (1 best answer)
    • Using LinkedIn (1 best answer)

    What this means for you is simply this: out of my nearly 7,000,000 member LinkedIn Network, I am, by far and away, the top rated ‘expert’ on “Quality Management and Standards”.  I must be doing something right.  I don’t like to describe myself (or anybody else) as an ‘expert’, but LinkedIn does that based upon the highest number of ‘best answer’ ratings. 

    Here is how being an ‘expert’ looks on the Answers page (at the bottom) for this topic: 

    In case you’re thinking the apparently huge ‘best’ answers lead I seem to have over fellow professionals, like close runner up, Anshuman Tiwari, does not take into account the expertise of my 2nd degree or 3rd degree LinkedIn contacts, take a look at this:

    Yeah, Shaun (2nd degree connection) and Scott (3rd degree connection), ‘expert’ front runners, are snapping at my heels (NOT). 

    And, by the way, I only post one or two LinkedIn Answers per week… so I don’t spend a lot of time doing this.  I find providing answers on LinkedIn challenges me and keeps my mind tuned into the latest developments in my chosen profession, so I do it for my ongoing personal and professional development as much as for others.  It takes me about an hour (usually) to research and prepare one ‘best’ answer.   That is not a huge investment for my return on it.

    So… the point of this shameless bragging about my LinkedIn activities and answers is this:  maybe I’ve posted some answers that would be worthwhile for you to read.

    I recognize that finding past answers I’ve posted to support your more urgent needs or interests might be like looking for a needle in a haystack via LinkedIn, especially if you don’t have a LinkedIn account (although Google is doing better at providing this information, now).  Nonetheless, I’m going to start posting some of the better answers I’ve provided here, too.  I do provide plenty of links to the LinkedIn website here, so let’s figure this might inspire some of my blog readers to open a new LinkedIn account (or better use the one they have), shall we?  It’s a win-win-win. 

    Anyway, my future LinkedIn Answer Blog posts here will be titled in a manner that best represents the original question asked.  The entire content of the question will appear in the body of the post. 

    If you have any questions for me about LinkedIn, I’ll be happy to do my best to answer them for you.  Better yet… join LinkedIn and ask me there!

    Posted in Blogroll, Day-to-Day Observations, Quality-Related LinkedIn Answers, Social Commentary, Tools and Methods, Science and Technology, Websites | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »