Sometimes Negative Effects of Performance Measurement Systems
About the Book
Based on an award-winning doctoral thesis at Carnegie Mellon University, Measuring
and Managing Performance in Organizations presents a captivating analysis
of the perils of performance measurement systems. In the book's foreword, Peopleware
authors Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister rave, "We believe this is a book that
needs to be on the desk of just about anyone who manages anything."
people often react with unanticipated sophistication when they are being measured,
measurement-based management systems can become dysfunctional, interfering with
achievement of intended results. Fortunately, as the author shows, measurement
dysfunction follows a pattern that can be identified and avoided.
findings are bolstered by interviews 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.
model for analyzing measurement projects solidifies the textdon't start
From the Foreword
". . . admirable . . . We
believe this is a book that needs to be on the desk of just about anyone who manages
"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."
Title Is Now Also Available As an eBook Through Pearson Education at www.informit.com.
"A book of deep ahas for me has been
Robert D. Austin's 1996 book Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations.
I've read it half a dozen times. . . .
"By the time it is done,
the author has devastated the notion of Management by Objectives and all of its
fellow easy-as-pie management methods. If you're measuring anything, you need
Tom DeMarco Across the
Board, November/December 2001
"Reading and understanding
Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations will provide you with
a background to recognize measurement system dynamics so you can design better
measurement systems. Be warned that this is not a "Measurement Mambo"
type book. It is not a five-step program. There's no assurance of "Follow
these five easy steps and your measurement program is guaranteed to succeed."
Instead, Austin gives an in-depth look at what makes or breaks measurement systems.
The information is presented in an intuitive way; if you understand algebra and
simple logic, you will understand what Austin is presenting. . . .
Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations points out that using
a delegation management style can motivate employess without using management
systems. . . .
"This book will give you a solid basis to understand
the complexity and avoid the pitfalls of measuring effort in organizations."
Gray STQE, September/October 2001
on management theory, psychology, and economics to explain why problems often
occur in our measurement systems. He explains what characteristics make a system
amenable to healthy measurement, and which characteristics will make it difficult
to measure without causing harm. . . .
"Buy Measuring, and use
it to balance the points the overly enthusiastic fans of measurement will make
in your next project meeting."
Sue Petersen Visual Developer, June/July 1997
wrestle with the problem of how their very presence in a research setting can
change the behavior of what is being studied. This same principle was brought
to a business realm by Robert D. Austin in his groundbreaking 1996 book, Measuring
and Managing Performance in Organizations. . . . The way to beat this problem
is admittedly difficult: measure everything, not selectively."
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