The message of a data-set can be dramatically changed by careful exclusion. A chart with five years data can be used to present a process as being easy to control:
While adding nine months more of immediately prior older data might show that the five years good performance has only been achieved by iron control. A different interpretation of the first chart may be that the performance is almost erratic between just meeting the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and perfection.
Remember that your managers are living with the reality: your peers are seeing the reports once a quarter (or even less often). They are heavily reliant on somebody interpreting the chart: the blue arrow with the text "Better" removes any doubt about whether the performance line being above the SLA line is good or bad. As demonstrated in the Decision Making presentations and workshops, not everybody can interpret numerical data or charts with equal ease.
Consider presenting different and more detailed charts to the team doing the work. That affirms to the team that the presenter has got their finger on the pulse. The team can also see any trends in the wrong direction: they don't need the meaning spelling out to them.
Be clear in your own mind what are three Critical Success Factors (CSF) you can accept accountability for, and be ruthless about ensuring that when it comes to your own annual review these are all good news.
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