What is the difference between performance measures, indicators, metrics and information?

These terms are used in different ways by different people and sometimes used interchangeably.  It can be useful to distinguish between them as follows:

  • A performance measure is direct and accurate – such as room temperature in degrees Celsius.

  • A performance indicator is indirect (i.e., it is always approximate only) and requires interpretation and explanation, even if it is measured accurately – such as the percentage of people wearing a coat.

  • A performance metric is a figure that provides an easily interpreted sign of performance (e.g., % of staff testing with blood alcohol levels over 0.05% during work hours, when 0 is expected)

  • Performance information refers to the additional information needed to make sense of performance measures and indicators – such as the time of day, the outside temperature, the size of the crowd.

[based on Rogers 2006]

What do you think?

  • Are these distinctions between performance ‘measure’, ‘indicator’, ‘metric’ and ‘information’ important in your view? Why or why not?

​​Please share some of your insights and experiences in the comments below.

 

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