Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Metrics and Data when Viewed by Admins vs Management vs Users

 I get it, but not sure if I like it, or if users should see it, or if I should let management use it.

We have reached the era of metrics and data that can be measured.

But should it.

No question most systems have had usage reporting, patterns, logs, pretty but usually ugly data to make sense of for your boss.

In Twitter with Rachel Happe( from The Community Roundtable asked: 

Prompted some discussion and some replies from various people.

She found an answer for Microsoft Analytics from Alan Lepofsky:

And then Rachel asked about the admin side. 

Over my 30 years in IT I have been asked to provide metrics, sometimes network items, sometimes user usage. Naturally, as a good employee or consultant, I gave customers what they asked for and automated some of them and others needed some manual efforts.

Should software of course provide this information because it helps IT plan the future, and also be proactive in `their support efforts. 

What I found is many people are ignorant of the data available.

It seems even more people are ignorant of understanding their own data.

Does management really care about the usage internally? Yes, because in some cases they can shut off a service no longer used. Alternatively, they may need to up their licensing or merge some solutions.

But users, do users care what they do or how they do it, or when they do it? I am not s sure.

I know what I do, I think most people if pushed would also know what their habits are but does it imply you are a good employee or not? Does it mean you are goofing off or being more productive?

When I am managing clients or teams I have scheduled one day a week for most of my meetings. I reasoned I'd rather "waste" one day instead of multiple days on meetings. 

This usually has worked for me and my teams because 4 days a week we could work unimpeded.

Meetings don't last 30 or 60 minutes, the time before and after is lost, sometimes as much as 15 minutes or more on both ends before you get back in your groove.

SaaS apps live on the usage data, they want people using their apps and do anything they can to have people using them, but is it a false metric? 

I am in my email all day long, it stays open, so is 8 hours of email, coupled with my network/vpn login time and then my individual application usage(some Saas, some network) to get to some crazy idea I work 20+ hours a day. 

Who wants their company to view them in this way?

No employees.

But management has nothing else to work with usually.

Yes, revenue and sales, ok, that is the only given.

Back-office people, not much to show for their effort. You ran a campaign? You built a server? You rolled out an update? Nice work but quantifying it properly, not so simple, ROI vagueness.

What if all your meetings and online time were tracked to show your actual working time was minimal? 

How would you fight it? 

HR gets involved and guess who is on the chopping board?

People are working from home and the last thing they want is to be picked on for their work effort which they are doing the best they can with what is going on.

Hopefully, this is not going to affect you or your company but it is in the shadows, today. Soon it may be upfront and then it will get interesting with how employees push back or beat the system.

When I worked on Wall Street in the early 90s, we had a database someone wrote to track time. Nothing unusual about that, but the coder was not so advanced and could only set up increments of 15 minutes.

One of the IT guys I knew got yelled at but the boss because it turned out he billed for 30 hours in a day. 


It turns out he was delivering things to users, a mouse, a keyboard, software(they used to come in packages and everyone had a license and we had to leave them with the user) and so in theory if you spent 30 seconds dropping off a box or 5 minutes pugging in a mouse, you still billed 15 minutes per person because you could not select less time, because each delivery was billed back to the person and their business line expense code.

Data doesn't lie.

He got paid but was told to never do it again. 

Next time, he took 3 days off instead because he billed his 40 hours in 2 days and just adjusted the dates.

Not the best employee, but this is where interpreting the data is so important to change systems and metrics as the system is running.

Maybe in time the metrics and data will be edited to be more useful but right now it is still hard to get good data and you should be aware of how to handle this discussion when you get into it.

And the discussion is coming to a cubicle or zoom call soon.

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