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Open Source Stats – But What Do the Numbers Mean?

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Open Source Stats – But What Do the Numbers Mean?
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I recently sent a report to project management containing some numbers that purport to describe the status of the RDO project.

I got a long and thoughtful response from one of the managers—we’ll call him Mark—and it seems worthwhile sharing some of his insights. To summarize, what he said was, don’t bother collecting stats if they don’t tell a story.

1. Focus on the Goals

Listing a bunch of numbers without context—even with pretty graphs—doesn’t tell us anything unless you relate them to goals that we’re trying to achieve.

Several weeks ago I presented a “stakeholder review” to this same audience. Any statistics that I present in the future should be directly related to a goal in that review, or they are just meaningless numbers, and possibly a distraction, and, worse still, might cause people to work towards growing the wrong metric. (Google for “be careful what you measure” and read any of those articles for more commentary on this point.)

Read the entire article here, Open Source Stats–But What Do the Numbers Mean? – Red Hat Open Source Community

via the fine folks at Red Hat.

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