Re: Productivity Metrics

Subject: Re: Productivity Metrics
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Techwrl-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 15:06:05 -0700 (PDT)

"Dan Emory" wrote in message
>
> I would add that it is quite unlikely that any kind of measurable
> productivity gain can be quantified in the dot.com economy. First, since
> the vast majority of web pages are nothing but hype and junk, their value
> is zero, thus the productivity of producing them is minus infinity.
> Secondly, the dot.com economy hasn't been around long enough to establish
> any kinds of benchmark productivity figures.

"Productivity" means many different things. You are right, Dan, it is very
difficult to measure the impact of new technologies and new methods because we
lack the history to look at as a judge. The writer of that article says exactly
that.

However, that does not in any way diminish the affect those technologies are
having. Just because you cannot accurately measure something, doesn't mean it
isn't happening.

When the telegraph was introduced in the early 1900s, suddenly all types of
changes began happening. Did the telegraph lift America out of the backwaters
and make us an international power? Well, yes and no. Telegraphs helped
disseminate information. It helped the railroads work more effectively, helped
business communicate with suppliers and customers, helped the government
connect with people. It was a catlyst that affected many industries in some
blatant and esoteric ways.

But at the time, nobody even thought about this. The telegraph was merely a
cool new thing. I am certain there was a person who said that the telegraph was
a worthless technology at the time and would never be as valuable as a good 'ol
messenger on a horse.

That person was wrong.

I am also certain that a lot of the first telegraph connections were pretty
bad. At first, a lot of stupid stuff was transmitted across the wires. But
over time as the technology matured it became an invaluable asset to many
industries and individuals.

So, before you dismiss the productivity metrics or new technologies, realize
that just because you can't measure it - doesn't mean it isn't there. And just
because some web sites are stupid, does not mean the Internet and associated
technologies are worthless. The markets are maturing. It is natural for any
technology to take time to sink into the economy and integrate with day to day
life.

The problem with all forms of productivity measuring is that most people try to
build complex, static systems that "feel" objective. They try to count
mistakes, pages, or other meaningless values that only chew up more time and
distract from real work and real progress.

Furthermore, it could be argued that productivity is an irrelevant metric. Who
cares if you are doing something productively? If the customer gets what he/she
wants and profits are being made - then productivity is irrelevant.

What productivity really affects is the capability to get more from less. Why
make $5 per unit when you can make $100 per unit in a more productive
environment.

So the goal of all productivity metrics must be to ensure that A) more work is
done, B) the work is of a higher quality, C) work is done quicker, D) more
profit is gained.

As with any good document, methodology, or process if it cannot adapt to new
circumstances and technologies then it slowly becomes less and less meaningful.

Andrew Plato
On approved credit: http://members.home.com/aplato

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