Don’t Boil The Ocean


    One of the best books for advice on handling Change within organizations is
    The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel. 

    In many ways, practitioners of Lean Six Sigma, and McKinsey Consulting
    are up to the same thing – introducing change within organizations.

    Rasiel has a chapter called "Don’t Boil The Ocean". The essence of the
    chapter is that looking at every possible metric, dimension or aspect of a business
    is like boiling the ocean to get a handful of salt.

    Lot of effort for very little return.

    Could not be more appropriate when it comes to metrics and measurement that
    you see in many business processes – whether they are in-house or outsourced.

    This is especially true of voice processes like inbound sales, outbound sales,
    inbound help desk, inbound customer service, etc. Just because you can collect
    myriad measurements like Average Handle Time per agent per call, Average Hold Time
    per agent per call, Number of Calls on Hold per agent per call, Login time, Logout time,
    etc from the Phone System (Automatic Call Distributor – ACD system) does not mean
    you need to use all of them in every voice process.

    Depending upon what is happening in the voice process, only some may be more relevant
    than others. In a customer service process, Average Hold Time may be relevant but in a
    collections process it may not be. Currency related metrics may be more relevant in a
    collections process.

    Availability of data should not dictate anaysis! In some cases the relevant data may be
    harder to get but may be the most useful!

    And too many metrics just may mean too much data collection. The first couple of months
    it may feel like it is all useful but utility needs to be assessed in terms of longer periods.

    Six months from now, would I still be able to collect and produce these reports
    manually or automatically and more importantly, would I have any use for them?

    Collecting too much information is akin to boiling the ocean for insights of little utility.

    Good advice that can be used in any Lean Six Sigma effort!

    Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment,  the manner in which information is collected and used.

    – Dr. Carl Sagan.


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