Heitor Gouvêa

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The importance of context metrics

When assuming a leadership position, particularly as a manager, you will quickly understand the value and need for metrics. Therefore, dedicating some of your efforts to this practice, I dare say that the first metrics you will work on are the famous KPIs, Key Performance Indicators.

However, allow me to offer you a tip: try not to have tunnel vision because there is another category of metrics that will definitely be of help to you.

KPIs are indicators that will help you understand if something has changed, if things are going well or not, but just looking at them is not enough to make a decision. You will feel the need for context metrics that will help you diagnose the situation, and thus you will have a better chance of making the right decision.

To illustrate this further, let’s use an example: an engineering team that uses DORA Metrics to measure software delivery speed. Let’s say that in the last two months, the “Time to deploy” has been falling. From that, you should create a list of questions that need to be answered promptly with support/context metrics, such as:

  1. What is the team’s turnover rate? Have we experienced a high turnover rate recently?
  2. What was the efficiency of one-on-one meetings in the last period? Perhaps as a manager, I may have been distant from the team, thus potentially affecting motivation?
  3. The Development Department Promotion Rate: The total number of promotions over a rolling 12-month period divided by the number of employees at the end of the month.
  4. Average Age of Open Positions: Has the demand been increasing, or do we want to accelerate the process? Are we managing to hire within a healthy average time for the team?

Anyway, I brought here some support metrics more inclined towards Human Resources teams, but we can certainly think of others focused on the support team, sales, etc.

In conclusion, don’t just focus on your metrics; be a valuable partner to other leaders and contribute, whether by analyzing, advocating, or simply bringing visibility to your team’s situation.