EppsNet Archive: Metrics

Misled by Metrics

From a Sr. IT Consultant: I recently asked a colleague [CIO] whether he would prefer to deliver a project somewhat late and over-budget but rich with business benefits or one that is on time and under budget but of scant value to the business. He thought it was a tough call, and then went for the on-time scenario. Delivering on time and within budget is part of his IT department’s performance metrics. Chasing after the elusive business value, over which he thought he had little control anyway, is not. Read more →

Don’t Look Back

In uncertain conditions the main question should not be: “Why didn’t your performance yesterday conform to the original plan?” Rather, it should be: “What kind of feedback can help you learn faster and perform better tomorrow?” — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

The Illusion of Control

More paperwork does not ensure greater information reliability or accuracy — it only adds to the non-value-added cost. It only seems that adding more measurement and reporting means better control. The illusion of control may partially explain an obsession with control. — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

Control is Not Important

To understand control’s real role [in software development], you need to distinguish between two drastically different kinds of projects: Project A will eventually cost about a million dollars and produce value of around $1.1 million. Project B will eventually cost about a million dollars and produce value of more than $50 million. What’s immediately apparent is that control is really important for Project A but almost not at all important for Project B. This leads us to the odd conclusion that strict control is something that matters a lot on relatively useless projects and much less on useful projects. It suggests that the more you focus on control, the more likely you’re working on a project that’s striving to deliver something of relatively minor value. To my mind, the question that’s much more important than how to control a software project is, why on earth are we doing so many… Read more →

What I Learned From Today’s Webinar on Productivity

If you’re going to talk to people about increasing productivity or efficiency, you have to specify your unit of measure. We may differ regarding your selection, but if you don’t define one at all, your words have no meaning . . . Read more →

Turn the Demands Around

Managers will often demand proof that questing for quality will have some measurable “return on investment.” That’s an easy one. Just agree to provide ROI numbers using the same system they currently use. No such system exists. When a manager demands that you justify your efforts, simply ask her the same in reverse. How does she justify her current methods? — Alan Cooper Read more →

Beware Metrics

Beware metrics. We are enamored with them from the days of waterfall, when we couldn’t tell what was going on until the end of the project. So, we devised metrics to attempt to read the tea leaves of what might be going on so we could get early warnings. Earned value is a great example of this. Also, we developed metrics to prove that things were improving to our customers even though over 1/2 of our projects failed. See, we are getting better, so leave us alone and please don’t fire us. — Ken Schwaber Read more →