These are the basic three types of metrics.
There are metrics that help us manage a process, to know if we are on-track or not. The speed on the dashboard. The number of customers we are working on. Our calorie intake.
Then there are metrics to brag about, or “vanity metrics”. These are the ones that don’t really mean a lot, but they sound important and have a ring of accomplishment to it, of being really busy. Emails sent. Users that signed up.
There are metrics to measure. These tend to be the important ones. The ones that determine success or failure. Did we get there on time? Did we hit the Revenue goal? Or the Quota attainment? How about your your weight? These are the ones that make up “the tyranny of the number”.
All three of these can be useful. In fact, they are useful. Staring at our weight on the bathroom scale doesn’t help us losing weight, tracking and limiting our calorie intake does. And vice-versa, we will not make quota just by counting the number of phone calls we make.
They are all useful, but be aware not to confuse one for the other.