#process #control #delegation #economic-framework #delivery #process-improvement


Lag and lead metrics are a method of delegated control.

Lag metrics are measuring an outcome after the fact. They are usually hard to control, and easy to measure. These are the metrics that are traditionally reported on: revenue, profit, production levels...

Lead metrics are measuring an output that is predictive of the lag metric. They are directly controllable (by definition), and usually harder to measure. These are metrics teams can do something about: time in the "review" column, number of security policies violations, ...

Lead metrics are picked tactically to improve lag metrics. They are bets. They are constitutive of the team's score board, and are intensely focused on by the team. By improving the lead metric, the lag metric is getting improved (if it's not, change lead metric).


Lag metrics are very often followed because they are what matter to the business. How they are achieved is too often through vague and long reaching plans. The reason why lag metrics are so effective is that it allows just in time planning, and local adaptability of work, where teams can see in real time if they are "winning the game".