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The Watermelon Effect

The Watermelon Effect October 26, 2021
The Watermelon Effect

by Jeffrey Tefertiller

I have enjoyed watermelons most of my life, and it has grown since the emergence of “seedless” watermelons. For those unfamiliar, these seedless watermelons still have seeds. They are just small, edible, and are not the nuisance of the “seeded” watermelons. In our family, we each want to be the one who cuts in to the green exterior into the juicy red interior. Watermelon is a refreshing fruit as it is around 90% water. It is considered a dessert in our family. As great as watermelon is, The Watermelon Effect isn’t what you want.

Watermelons are wonderful to eat, but…

While watermelons are great for the human body, as they are full of nutrients and antioxidants, watermelon metrics are harmful to IT organizations.

So, what is the Watermelon Effect?

It is the representation showing IT service metrics as “green” status but the end-user of those services considers them “red”. These metrics occur in almost every part of an IT landscape not just the delivery of services. In Experience Management, we refer to the Watermelon Effect as context to how people see traditional Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and infrastructure metrics and measures.

SLAs and measures appear to be green, yet the consumer of those services is left unfulfilled and unhappy. That is why it is crucial to have XLAs.

Watermelon Effect In Action.

A real-life example of the Watermelon Effect happened to me on my last airplane trip. The airline measures time to check in, time to onboard the flight, time waiting on baggage, and on-time percentage of flights. While these are great metrics, in general, they fail to fully capture whether I enjoyed my flight or would fly with that airline again. The airline met these metrics just fine, but my experience with the airline was lacking for a few reasons, including rude personnel, inconsistent mask policy enforcement, and nickel-and-dime pricing. The metrics need to be based on the passenger’s perspective.

When we think about truly measuring IT services from the consumer’s perspective, we must include measures that give context to the SLAs and measures. In the end, it is the consumer’s happiness that matters. It will dictate whether they purchase again from you in the future.

Those “green” metrics are still important and are probably accurate. So, what do we take from this? Frankly, we must not be measuring something else we ought to be. Maybe we are missing valuable context in the form of metrics.
In a world demanding empathy and a focus on human interaction, experience management is here to stay. It helps us strive toward excellence all the way through.

If your organization wants to have happy employees, happy customers, or just want to deliver excellent services, contact us today for an initial conversation.