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Productivity measurement is a 19th century, industrial-age concept that
is passe in the information age. Unfortunately, most managers older than
30 were trained to regard it as the sine qua non of management tools.
The quality and usability of information produced are way more important
than the units of stuff produced per unit of time. I once accepted a
tech comm management position with an organization that measured
productivity in pages per month (and year). Guess what we had?
Incredibly bloated documents that covered subjects no user would ever
want. In fact, the org didn't care about users, it cared about cranking
out as many pages as possible, because that's what people were rewarded
for. It took about five or six years to get that turned around so that
tech writers were focused on developing real solutions for users instead
of figuring out ways to write more pages. When we changed to an emphasis
on usability, the customer satisfaction ratings went up dramatically. If
your (antiquated) management insists on something to measure, find some
criterion other than pages per unit of time.
Dr. Stan Dicks
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-8105
sdicks -at- unity -dot- ncsu -dot- edu