You Get What You Measure—Why Metrics Are Important

Friday, June 08, 2018 - 11:25 am11:50 am

Kumar Srinivasamurthy, Microsoft


Good engineers are goal-driven. We can work relentlessly to reach a metric performance goal for our application, but fail to realize that over a period of time, the metric, instead of our service, becomes the goal of our success. Very soon, there is a tendency to make changes that make the metric better. In other words, the 'gaming' of the system begins.

There is a time in the life of a metric when it needs to change, or it needs to make way for another. This talk will make you comfortable with that idea of letting go and give examples of ways in which we realized that creating metrics becomes a journey, and not a destination.

Audience Takeaways:

  • Changing metrics often isn't being shifty; its a good idea.
  • Bulletproof Metrics eventually begin to fail over a larger time period
  • Engineers 'game' metrics. Shake things up to refocus.
  • Some metrics flat-line and shouldn't be improved just for the sake of it

Kumar Srinivasamurthy, Microsoft Corp

Kumar works at Microsoft and has been in the online services world for several years. He currently runs the Bing and Cortana Live site/SRE team. For the last several years, he has focused on growing the culture around live site quality, incident response and management, service hardening, availability, performance, capacity, SLA metrics, DRI/SRE development and educating teams on how to build services that run at scale.

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@conference {214949,
author = {Kumar Srinivasamurthy},
title = {You Get What You {Measure{\textemdash}Why} Metrics Are Important},
year = {2018},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jun

Presentation Video 

Presentation Audio