The Pursuit of Busyness by Starting to Measure the Art of Group Performance

2 thoughts on “The Pursuit of Busyness by Starting to Measure the Art of Group Performance”

  1. no link to the annez bursty vs busy debate?

    I am sure you would also johhnie moore, who loves to debunk the pursuit of “targets” rather than results

    And finally Jonathan Becher, CEO of Pilot Software, now acquired by SAP, has a blog dedicated to debunking the pursuit of the wrong metrics.

  2. Bonjour,

    This post is interesting because I regularly have to figth that kind of comments and I confirm how much they prevent social tools adoptions. It addresses a fundamental element of the management: measurement.

    Organisational efficiency is based on an economic perspective. Business analysts are keys because they transform/translate real activity into figures that are easy to report, assimilate and benchmark. They provide a clear and synthetic vision to people who either are not directly in the business (e.g. investors and shareholders) or far too high in the hierarchy to grasp the details (e.g. senior management).

    This quantitative approach has proven being efficient in an economy where physical elements, not knowledge, were the core elements of activity.

    People still have a difficulty to grasp the change of a knowledge economy, web 2.0 or social computing or social tools (call it the way you wish) being only one tiny thing into this economical shift. Trick is not social vs individual (elements to evaluate collective works exist); trick is the knowledge economy some of us live in. Because knowledge is a non-material asset and being non-material it does not play by the quantitative rules: knowledge is not measurable. The European vision of the world crafted by Galileo Galilei and its cohort of followers is not that relevant.

    Metrics are keys, but loads are out-aged and incomplete. They have difficulty, by definition, to grasp the entire activity. No surprise why Taylorism was so badly welcomed by people and why so many disastrous side-effects appeared (among them stress, burn-out, professional diseases).
    Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Score Cards are one way to follow to manage this shift because they potentially allow a reporting that takes account of multiple / qualitative elements. Potentially means a lot of creativity is to be needed.

    From there, no surprise you get comments like “who use the new tools heavily will be perceived as not spending enough time on their ‘real’ jobs”. Coffee machine and remote work have come under fire too.
    The coffee machine probably is the most simple and effective knowledge management tool invented ever. It allows breaking organisational silos, developing conversations (well before blogs) and socialising.
    A 2006 Dutch survey showed that home/remote-based employees are actually more efficient (and not “productive”) than office-based one. Findings are because senior management has the preconceived idea that when people are not at the office they just chill out, remote-based workers over-compensate.

    It’s no surprise that a Harvard Business School (HBS) Professor and his students think that way. The research methodologies at HBS are quantitative, the recruiting of HBS is based on quantitative skills (have a deep look at GMAT and you’ll see the biased conception of intelligence that lays behind).

    The point you underline is a point a lot of people have difficulty to understand. That is a point that only management specialists, not IT specialists can and have to address. Unfortunately, the elements you have underlined in McAfee’s post tend to suggest that not only tools have to go 2.0, mentality too.


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