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Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations (Dorset House eBooks)

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Here's an essential reference for all managers facing the multitude of issues involved in any measurement program. Developed from an award-winning doctoral thesis at Carnegie Mellon University, this is a lucid, captivating analysis of organizational performance measurement. Author Robert D. Austin emphasizes the behavioral aspects of measurement situations. The focus is on Here's an essential reference for all managers facing the multitude of issues involved in any measurement program. Developed from an award-winning doctoral thesis at Carnegie Mellon University, this is a lucid, captivating analysis of organizational performance measurement. Author Robert D. Austin emphasizes the behavioral aspects of measurement situations. The focus is on people and how they react when they are part of organizational systems that are being measured. Interviews enrich the text, conducted with eight recognized experts in the use of measurement to manage computer software development: David N. Card, of Software Productivity Solutions; Tom DeMarco, of the Atlantic Systems Guild; Capers Jones, of Software Productivity Research; John Musa, of AT&T Bell Laboratories; Daniel J. Paulish, of Siemens Corporate Research; Lawrence H. Putnam, of Quantitative Software Management; E. O. Tilford, Sr., of Fissure; plus the anonymous Expert X. A practical model for analyzing measurement projects solidifies the text -- don't start without it! From the Foreword ". . . admirable . . . We believe this is a book that needs to be on the desk of just about anyone who manages anything."               -- Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister From the Preface "Some books on measurement so strongly advocate its use that they look almost exclusively at success stories. They profess to tell you how to get it right but they supply little or no detail about the consequences or likelihood of getting it wrong. Partly this is because stories of management failures are harder to find than accounts of successes, for obvious reasons: People like to claim credit for successes and forget failures. But you can learn a lot from failure. So I've worked to find examples of failure and devoted a significant portion of this book to examining the examples in search of a common pattern. . . . Understanding the pattern of failure can help us avoid it."               -- RDA


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Here's an essential reference for all managers facing the multitude of issues involved in any measurement program. Developed from an award-winning doctoral thesis at Carnegie Mellon University, this is a lucid, captivating analysis of organizational performance measurement. Author Robert D. Austin emphasizes the behavioral aspects of measurement situations. The focus is on Here's an essential reference for all managers facing the multitude of issues involved in any measurement program. Developed from an award-winning doctoral thesis at Carnegie Mellon University, this is a lucid, captivating analysis of organizational performance measurement. Author Robert D. Austin emphasizes the behavioral aspects of measurement situations. The focus is on people and how they react when they are part of organizational systems that are being measured. Interviews enrich the text, conducted with eight recognized experts in the use of measurement to manage computer software development: David N. Card, of Software Productivity Solutions; Tom DeMarco, of the Atlantic Systems Guild; Capers Jones, of Software Productivity Research; John Musa, of AT&T Bell Laboratories; Daniel J. Paulish, of Siemens Corporate Research; Lawrence H. Putnam, of Quantitative Software Management; E. O. Tilford, Sr., of Fissure; plus the anonymous Expert X. A practical model for analyzing measurement projects solidifies the text -- don't start without it! From the Foreword ". . . admirable . . . We believe this is a book that needs to be on the desk of just about anyone who manages anything."               -- Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister From the Preface "Some books on measurement so strongly advocate its use that they look almost exclusively at success stories. They profess to tell you how to get it right but they supply little or no detail about the consequences or likelihood of getting it wrong. Partly this is because stories of management failures are harder to find than accounts of successes, for obvious reasons: People like to claim credit for successes and forget failures. But you can learn a lot from failure. So I've worked to find examples of failure and devoted a significant portion of this book to examining the examples in search of a common pattern. . . . Understanding the pattern of failure can help us avoid it."               -- RDA

30 review for Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations (Dorset House eBooks)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Torbjörn

    This is a must read for anyone involved with, pondering or subject to measurement. That should include essentially everyone. Robert Austin brilliantly covers a hard topic in a nuanced way, dispensing stern advice and warnings along the way. You'll learn about how, and when, measurements will lead to dysfunction, alternative modes and pointers what to do instead. For those reaching chapter 18 "Societal Implications and Extensions" and wanting a good treatise on the subject instead of a heap of qu This is a must read for anyone involved with, pondering or subject to measurement. That should include essentially everyone. Robert Austin brilliantly covers a hard topic in a nuanced way, dispensing stern advice and warnings along the way. You'll learn about how, and when, measurements will lead to dysfunction, alternative modes and pointers what to do instead. For those reaching chapter 18 "Societal Implications and Extensions" and wanting a good treatise on the subject instead of a heap of questions I recommend Bruce Schneier's "Liars and Outliers" http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations is an excellent retort to those that believe "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it" to be gospel. The book breaks down measurement scenarios into two categories: partial and complete supervision. Under complete supervision, every nuance of a worker's productivity is observed and understood by management and therefore measurement is an appropriate tool to increase efficiency and motivate workers. However under partial supervision, which Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations is an excellent retort to those that believe "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it" to be gospel. The book breaks down measurement scenarios into two categories: partial and complete supervision. Under complete supervision, every nuance of a worker's productivity is observed and understood by management and therefore measurement is an appropriate tool to increase efficiency and motivate workers. However under partial supervision, which is more common particularly in knowledge work, measurement schemes can actually harm efficiency as the workers attempt to optimize the observable measurements to the detriment of the unobservable measurements, to maximize personal gain. It is here that the mechanistic cockpit analogy of measurement falls apart. Measuring worker output is not analogous to a cockpit, where the manager has access to various dials. Rather partial supervision is analogous to a cockpit in which there are small gremlins controlling each dial, adjusting them to manager feedback instead of reality. Even measurement solely for information purposes, and not for compensation, can be construed as such and therefore can be detrimental to production. Instead, for situations where only partial measurement is possible, the author recommends "no supervision" or delegatory management, whereby the manager communicates to his/her subordinates the overall goal, and leaves the implementation to the subordinates. In fact, in an ideal setting, the subordinate queries the manager when needed, as opposed to being commanded. I found this to be quite similar to the "Hire managers of one" advice from Rework. One recommendation that was suspect was how Eastern companies rely on culture, loyalty, and assimilation instead of incentives to achieve high productivity. Unfortunately Eastern companies provide lifetime employment and are reticent to remove obviously underperforming employees, which is probably too far in the other direction. In short, organizational measurement systems are high cost, are very difficult to implement correctly, and are not only unhelpful but counterproductive due to the fact that the people being measured are aware of it and often adjust deleteriously in unmeasured ways.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Srđan

    I read only the most important chapters, per instructions for the fastest read in the book. It can be pretty much summed into "It's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to measure performance in organisations without affecting it negatively." It provides interesting examples of failed metrics and ways people optimise their work to accomplish personal goals and satisfy dysfunctional performance measuring system, sacrificing the organisation's goals along the way. 4 stars for the book because th I read only the most important chapters, per instructions for the fastest read in the book. It can be pretty much summed into "It's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to measure performance in organisations without affecting it negatively." It provides interesting examples of failed metrics and ways people optimise their work to accomplish personal goals and satisfy dysfunctional performance measuring system, sacrificing the organisation's goals along the way. 4 stars for the book because throughout the book, the author is talking about how the measuring performance does not work. Only at the very end of it author states there are organisations that managed to create a culture which supports and embraces performance measuring, but then doesn't elaborate those cases at all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jurgen Appelo

    Fantastic book with amazing research. One point off for its boring presentation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Denis Vasilev

    Любопытная книга по измерению продуктивности в организациях. Интересный вывод о наличии пределов эффективности таких измерений. Разбор ситуаций когда измерение может приносить пользу, когда вред. Минус за ненужные экскурсы в теорию агентов, многословие, наукообразность

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tadhg Maccarthy

    4.5 stars. Worth it alone for the focus on the potential for measurement to introduce dysfunction; for example the publically listed market companies that focus on quarterly results.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Muness Castle

    An excellent read on management that explains the difficulties of managing by measurement and the circumstances under which extrinsic motivation can lead to dysfunction.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I really enjoyed this book. Maybe because it offers a backbone to a perspective I've had for a while but didn't know how to defend very well until now. I found the writing clear, and the ideas sensible and supported by arguments, and what seems to be a carefully design interview with 8 experts. The model presented is worth studying in more depth. Some points about it: it proposes 3 levels of supervision possible: full, partial, and no supervision. Partial supervision brings forward the possibilit I really enjoyed this book. Maybe because it offers a backbone to a perspective I've had for a while but didn't know how to defend very well until now. I found the writing clear, and the ideas sensible and supported by arguments, and what seems to be a carefully design interview with 8 experts. The model presented is worth studying in more depth. Some points about it: it proposes 3 levels of supervision possible: full, partial, and no supervision. Partial supervision brings forward the possibility of dysfunctions in measurement. The fact that not all relevant dimensions are observed (sometimes because it's not possible or highly costly) can lead to a behavior that will make the measured dimensions look good, in the detriment of the non-observed, equally important ones. The book discusses some of the aspects that make measurement of true quality difficult, considering the human factor. The 2 management styles that stand at different poles were very revealing for me. Some managers assume that people do not want to work and exert effort voluntarily, so will base their management on providing external motivation, while others assume the existence of internal motivation and will thus be open to employ delegatory management.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nikos Polyzotis

    Intriguing & quite appealing The model proposed fits well with the differentiation of extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation. The whole approach is scientific. Facts, former studies and riddled with detailed explanations of what is applicable at a work environment. Truly worth the time spent reading it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Henrik Berglund Berglund

    I picked this book up to learn how to measure without causing dysfunction. I have always been wondering how to do that and got a recommendation that this would be a good read... I really liked Robert D. Austins take on the subject. Using a simple model, he thorougly examinines measurements, traditionals views and dysfunctions caused by these. He then ends up in a place where there is trust, honesty, good intentions, decentralization, group identity and intrinsic motivation. In this situation, some I picked this book up to learn how to measure without causing dysfunction. I have always been wondering how to do that and got a recommendation that this would be a good read... I really liked Robert D. Austins take on the subject. Using a simple model, he thorougly examinines measurements, traditionals views and dysfunctions caused by these. He then ends up in a place where there is trust, honesty, good intentions, decentralization, group identity and intrinsic motivation. In this situation, some measurements can be done, by "workers" to get information. Role of managers shift to providing direction and helping workers! What a suprise in a book with a title like this ;-D I like it! He also provides a few tips that may work if you are not already in a place like that, but that would just be an intermediate step I think. Excellent read, recommended!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Raman Ohri

    The book worked for me on two levels. First, it was an excellent example of how to construct, use, and interpret a model. Like many skills, sounds easy and gets taken for granted, but it is not. Second, the point of the book is around the consequences of measurement systems. It does a fine job of categorizing systems and approaches and then carefully explains what the model says about each of these situations. I'm admittedly biased - my style and intuition match the conclusions of the book in gene The book worked for me on two levels. First, it was an excellent example of how to construct, use, and interpret a model. Like many skills, sounds easy and gets taken for granted, but it is not. Second, the point of the book is around the consequences of measurement systems. It does a fine job of categorizing systems and approaches and then carefully explains what the model says about each of these situations. I'm admittedly biased - my style and intuition match the conclusions of the book in general, though I don't claim any great wisdom. This is not an easy read. It swings from quite dry and academic to profound about people and human nature. That said, it's well worth reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    One of the most cogent pieces on measurement I've read to date. A simple, illustrative model helps practitioners think through potential implications of implementing a measurement program. Informational versus motivational, full supervision versus no supervision, measurement versus delegation—all very useful dichotomies for discussing measurement. Highly recommend to all managers, especially those new to management. In addition, highly recommend to senior leaders, who may be more divorced from t One of the most cogent pieces on measurement I've read to date. A simple, illustrative model helps practitioners think through potential implications of implementing a measurement program. Informational versus motivational, full supervision versus no supervision, measurement versus delegation—all very useful dichotomies for discussing measurement. Highly recommend to all managers, especially those new to management. In addition, highly recommend to senior leaders, who may be more divorced from the day-to-day than they realize.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Flavius

    This book is not an easy read. It has an academic tone so I had to stop a few times and reread the last sentence to get it right. It also doesn't offer a lot of practical advice. But that was not the author's purpose, I believe. He instead provides a rigorous theoretical model for measuring performance. The conclusion should be startling for managers: in most cases where work is complex, driving performance with measurements will be hard, if not impossible. This book is not an easy read. It has an academic tone so I had to stop a few times and reread the last sentence to get it right. It also doesn't offer a lot of practical advice. But that was not the author's purpose, I believe. He instead provides a rigorous theoretical model for measuring performance. The conclusion should be startling for managers: in most cases where work is complex, driving performance with measurements will be hard, if not impossible.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul Floyd

    The best book I've read in a good while. It describes my work environment to a T. The best book I've read in a good while. It describes my work environment to a T.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ant

    One Ford manager's primal scream against clumsy incentivisation and crude human performance models. One Ford manager's primal scream against clumsy incentivisation and crude human performance models.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ralf Kruse

    One of the best books on to understand the challenges with KPIs. Really insightful concepts and examples. While the content is great, the writing style is a bit boring.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Normunds Neimanis

    Really a lot of things what not to do and small amount of what to do. Tough very interesting read and revealing of explanation of what is happening in organizations and societies in large scale.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Luis Gonçalves

    Really great material. Great research. Great book. I give it three because its written in a such boring way that I could not give a better rating

  19. 4 out of 5

    Derek W. Wade

    Recommended by @estherderby http://www.estherderby.com/2010/09/ga... Recommended by @estherderby http://www.estherderby.com/2010/09/ga...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    Very good despite being dry.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrea P

  22. 4 out of 5

    Asim Ghaffar

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Mcmillin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Melo

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ho Ho

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steve Robinson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Luis Roberto Reyes Romero

  28. 4 out of 5

    David Wreesman

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Wreesman

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Hurst

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