How closely have your team’s productivity metrics tracked with the societal impacts of, say, the global pandemic? How much does the needle move when the team changes projects? When someone has a sick day?
These metrics do change in consistent, detectable ways in response to such events, don’t they? If not, what are they measuring? In numbers, how likely is it that those events had little or no significant effect on the members of your team and their output?
The greater the pressure on your team (or yourself) to meet target numbers that ignore external events, the greater the likelihood that those numbers will be gamed and the lower the likelihood that they matter in the first place. “Gaming” can look like cheating, but it also looks like team members working overtime, declining sick days, and teetering on the razor’s edge of burnout in response to undue pressure to perform. Oftentimes, it’s the organization gaming the team instead of the other way around.
Seeking consistency for its own sake is a fool’s game with terrible odds and worse outcomes. The more stringently balanced the system, the more devastating the fallout when that balance inevitably breaks. How close are you to that breaking point?