Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Setting and measuring KPIs - or how Whistler rigs its SLA

Last week I went to Whistler where they've just had a large dump of snow. Last week however conditions could be described as "spring like" or to put it another way "rocks, ice and slush". Now during this time the resort was reporting a "base depth" of about 150cm and that 200 out of 200 runs were open.

What was interesting about this was where on earth do they measure the depth from? Clearly they are measuring it from somewhere but also clearly the impression of 150cm is that everywhere has a massive base and that this leads to every run is open. The reality is that Whistler and all resorts get to pick their measurement spot in a way that conveys the image they want to project. The number of open runs appeared to mean "we might have put up a closed sign, but you could go down if you like rock climbing".

What is the point of this? Well it might sound obvious but if you are consuming a service then you need to know what the SLA means, either by specifying it yourself or having real clarity on exactly what the provider is guaranteeing and how they are measuring it.

SLAs are only worth something if you can trust what they say otherwise they are worth as much as the 150cm base at Whistler last week.

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