Now I should point out that all of the people who are out there massaging the numbers for their department are using the same software tool as I am to generate the monthly figures. There are three clearly-marked buttons in the application for generating reports for Yesterday, Last Week, and Last Month. Maybe I made them too cryptic with names like that, and should have labelled the last one "Press this button to see the same numbers that plonq will be sending to the executives for their monthly scorecard." Yet every month when I run the figures, at least one of the divisions gets caught totally by surprise when they see the numbers.
This month it was Montreal who panicked. They fired up the editor tool and made some frantic changes that they should have done at some point in, say, the past thirteen days! They begged me to re-issue the numbers. Claim it was a mistake. Tell them it was a rounding error. Blame Satan.
Since the VPs are mostly interested in our Quarterly and Year-To-Date numbers, I re-ran the report to see if the edits made enough of a difference to be worth re-stating the numbers on the scorecard. The figure I produce comes from dividing number A (which is fairly small) into number B (which is fairly large). The changes they made effectively removed 6 from the numerator, which changed the ratio by about .0068%
They wanted me to re-state my scorecard for a difference of seven-thousandths of a percent.
Sure, why not? Lunch was good, and I was feeling charitable -- and these guys need all the help they can get. With rounding, it was actually enough to a barely perceptible change in our final metric. Somewhere out there is somebody who is looking at this figure and thinking, "Damn, we did 1/100% better than I was expecting!"