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Developing effective metrics

metrics, facility management, measurements

Metrics have become a hot topic in facility management. But for metrics to be useful, they have to provide apples-to-apples comparisons. For that to happen, the data on which the metrics are based have to be consistent. Many metrics report performance in terms of square feet – costs per square feet, for example. But the term “square feet” means different things to different people. The difference between gross and net square feet can be as much as 25 percent. If different business units are measuring square feet differently, a metric that compares square feet per employee across all the business units will be meaningless. And one bad metric can undermine the credibility of all the information being reported by the facility department. What if it’s not possible to get consistent numbers? In that case, do what Microsoft did when it was developing metrics: Define what the numbers mean. By developing a glossary for the different ways the same terms were used by different business units, the software giant enabled anyone looking at the metrics to understand what they were saying.