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Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations

by Robert D. Austin
foreword by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

ISBN: 978-0-932633-36-1  
©1996   240 pages   softcover  
$24.95 (plus shipping)

Subject(s): Software Metrics, Software Quality & Productivity

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Understand the 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."

Because 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.

The author's 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.

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."


This Title Is Now Also Available As an eBook Through Pearson Education at www.informit.com. To Order,

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"This book is a must for anyone who ever has to measure anything in a development organization. "

Atlantic Systems Guild

"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 this book."

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. . . .

"Austin's 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."

 —Don Gray
STQE, September/October 2001

"Austin draws 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

"Scientists constantly 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."

 —Sean Silverthorne
The View from Harvard Business


Table of Contents

Dorset House Catalog
This Book's Flyer

Also Recommended

Five Core Metrics: The Intelligence Behind Successful Software Management, by Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers

Productivity Sand Traps & Tar Pits, by Mike Walsh

Quality Software Management, Vol. 1: Systems Thinking, by Gerald M. Weinberg

Software Productivity, by Harlan D. Mills

To Satisfy & Delight Your Customer: How to Manage for Customer Value, by William J. Pardee

How to Order

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