Razor burn and pseudoscience

I tend to get sore skin if I shave with the wrong type of shaving gel. I’ve finally found a shaving gel that works (Nivea for Men, Sensitive, in case you are asking). What the hell has this got to do with KPIs? Well you can buy at least a dozen different brands of shaving gel that claim they are “Dermatologically approved”.

That’s great then.The trouble is that this phrase is completely meaningless. There’s no reference to any standard, or requirements to get this esteemed label. In fact it’s just a posh way of saying you can “use it on your skin”. It doesn’t sounds so impressive when you put it like that – does it?

Lots of people cheerfully buy products labelled like this, taking at face value the phrases describing what the contents will do. I see this behaviour a lot with measures and KPIs. People make all kinds of assumptions about what the measure actually does, without every really being sure or challenging “what’s in the tin”.

So next time you nod sagely when discussing a measure, pinch yourself and check you really know what it tells you.

If you want some help in the tedious but worthy task of defining your measures, try this handy KPI definition checklist.

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