Using Metrics and Stories: What do we use Measurements for?



October 12, 2016

Earlier this year, we presented a second “KM Conversation” with experienced library and information industry leader Stephen Abram, titled “Using Metrics and Stories: What Does Success Really Look Like?” During the session Stephen and Phil Green, Lucidea’s COO, shared their thoughts on the most powerful presentation of measurements.

In his continuing study of metrics and storytelling, Stephen has observed many flaws in the presentation of measurements. Most reports “over-communicate,” offer very little differentiation between data, and present a confusing layout. Worst of all, they often “bury the lead!”

The great(est) pieces of information must be highlighted, and moved to the top. When you prepare your monthly/quarterly/annual reports to your leadership or other stakeholders, you must use visual treatments such as moving the most important thing front and center. Lead with your strength.

Don’t simply report that “use is up,” “costs are down,” or “impact is up.” Tell a story with the data. For example, if you renegotiated a content license and generated a ten percent response, how much is that in savings over the next five years? Display your most compelling results, and in this case, tell a story about why that particular database is important; speak about how it is essential for the research done and the decisions made by people in your organization. As mentioned in our first blog post on this KM conversation, the results of your measurements and the direction they spotlight must be something that your audience understands, and it must meet organizational goals.

Hear more from Stephen Abram and Phil Green on this and related issues when you link to “Using Metrics and Stories: What Does Success Really Look Like?” And if you have suggestions for additional topics or speakers in our series of “KM Conversations” with such luminaries as Euan Semple, Stan Garfield and Stephen Abram, please let us know in the comments below.

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