Reviewed by Russ Cheesman Anyone of us in our daily lives utilizes metrics. Whether it is monitoring our drive to work? Or the economic indicators we may look at to determine when and how we might invest our money. Yet when we are called upon to develop a metric to measure some performance aspect of our organization, many of us may contemplate taking a long vacation. First, and foremost we don’t want to be perceived by our peers to be the performance watchdog. Beyond that, what do we measure, monitor and attempt to perfect in order increase our organization’s performance? In the recently published book by Martin Klubeck, “Metrics: How to Improve Key Business Results”, many, if not all of our past pain points concerned with developing and using metrics are addressed, thus turning the experience truly into a positive one for you and your organization. I am sure you all are aware of the old game show and even party games that give one an answer and ask the player, what is the question? Klubeck in the book emphasizes the Root Question as the single most important prerequisites to exist for an effective metric. Sometimes, we as humans have the analytical persistence to go very far in many paths of a problem, issue or opportunity, only to back up and ask the fundamental question, “What are we trying to do in this exercise”? This book urges the development of the question first. On the premise that the end result, the metric and its measures are the answer. This is a very significant departure from what mostly goes on for analytics these days. You know, we get a mountain of data first, then plow through it all analytically and develop a few metrics. This book not only discourages the acquisition of data as a first step, but centers the Root Question as the fundamental component and deliverable in the Metric Planning Phase. Question first, answer later is a huge gamechanger, because it saves time, money and dodges frustration Many Business Performance books, lecturers, teachers and practitioner refer to many different elements and components. At the very beginning of the book, a Common Language for Metrics is developed and explained. Data, and Measures, and Information, OH MY! This simple taxonomy for Metrics Components eliminates such age old questions as, “What are the differences between metrics, measures and KPIs (key performance indicators)”? This level setting of the metrics components early in the book eliminates all possible confusion for the reader. The Answer Key, a comprehensive Framework for Metrics Development that is also introduced in the book. It can be used to evaluate current metrics in your organization. Copyright © 2012 Russ Cheesman. All Rights Reserved.
Or, as a starting point for a new organizational metrics program. In this review, the Answer Key cannot be adequately explained in detail, however, it will be the subject of a full length article posted as another document on this site. In short, the Answer Key itself yields enough value to the reader to justify the money and time expense from buying and reading the book. The author, Martin Klubeck is a strategy and planning consultant at the University of Notre Dame and a recognized expert in the field of practical metrics. He holds a master’s degree from Webster University in human resources development and a bachelor’s in computer science from Chapman University. He is coauthor of Why Organizations Struggle So Hard to Improve So Little and numerous articles on metrics. His passion for simplifying the complex has led to the development of a simple system for developing meaningful metrics. Klubeck is also the founder of the Consortium for the Establishment of Information Technology Performance Standards, a nonprofit organization focused on providing much-needed standards for measures. Mr. Klubeck graciously has provided a goof-proof script, if you will to develop effective and highly relevant metrics. Beyond, the comprehensive script for a meaningful Metrics Program, our author also includes many valuable stage directions as I call them, when I compare a good set of Metrics to a good film. After all, with Metrics we are trying to tell a complete story, just as a great movie might tell. One of the most valuable suggestions the author gives us in the book is the advice to avoid chasing data. The book also emphasizes the power, danger and potential effectiveness in organizational maturation and improvement from metrics, while still taking extreme care to properly engage the Metric Stakeholders. Many other very important concepts associated with developing, utilizing and analyzing metric are introduced and explained with full detail in this book, including, The Service Catalog, the Report Card, Standards and Benchmarks, Triangulation and Expectations vs. Targets and Stretch Goals. I sincerely recommend this book, “Metrics: How to Improve Key Business Results” to any Manager, Organizational Leader, or anyone that wants to develop and utilize metrics that will indeed inspire peak performance in their organization, program or company.
_______ Russ Cheesman: Russ Cheesman is a senior information technology professional and consultant with experiences in all phases of the System Development Life Cycle. Much of his career had been devoted to enabling IT solutions for business problems and/or opportunities. He has served as an IT manager and practitioner in many industry sectors, including banking/financial, manufacturing, construction, retail, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, and health care. Mr. Cheesman, in recent years, has been practicing business performance measurement and management within several IT and
health care organizations through the use of business strategy, balanced scorecards, metrics, key performance indicators, and business analytical systems. BPTrends Linkedin Discussion Group
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