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“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness” – metrics are better than none

When I present benchmark metrics to a law department, some lawyer inevitably attacks the non-comparability of the other companies, the lack of rigor of the definitions, the vagaries of data collection, the inter-relatedness of the numbers, the bad faith of the participants, the methodological impurity of the process.

Granted, metrics have flaws. The consistent clamor for benchmarks, I have to point out, belies these charges. Many metrics are inputs (what the law department does, such as filing patents, reviewing 8-Ks) rather than outputs (achieving the results the business clients want, such as opening a store, making the sale, buying the goods).

Better to make a good faith effort to collect and analyze metrics than to stumble around in the dark, bumping into unpleasant surprises. Light a metrics candle instead of wandering through Stygian management.

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