Role of Evaluation in LO LO9873

Keith Cowan (72212.51@CompuServe.COM)
10 Sep 96 13:07:31 EDT

Replying to LO9775 --

Eric Bohlman <>
>The problem here is that the staff have optimized their behavior for a
>specific characteristic of the measurement process (in this case, the fact
>that time per call is being used as a surrogate marker for time to resolve
>problem) rather than for the intended outcome. Similarly, if you evaluate
>programmers based on how many lines of code they generate per day, they'll
>be disinclined to use any techniques that reduce the number of lines of
>code needed to perform a particular function.

This prompts me to recall using this technique for high leverage. In the
era of "rampant" TQM, the motto was "What gets measured gets fixed!" I was
managing a market rrsearch and product planning organization, and my
biggest problem was lower than desired froecast accuracy along with record
levels of overtime.

I instituted a practice of posting both results on a chart on the wall
outside my office. Each month the new data was added. I talked about these
2 items at every chance and offered to help in any way with reaching for
our aggressive new targets.

In six months our overtime had dropped from an average of 15 hours per
week each to just 3 hours AND accuracy had risen from 86% to 93%.
(Ironically, employee satisfaction had dropped, but then that was not one
of the measures being tracked monthly. My bosses could not believe that my
people would not be happy when they were working less and getting better
results. They were very supportive of my efforts. In subsequent focus
groups, the people wanted to be consulted on the measures ahead of time,
and were also reacting to change itself.)

So, to reinforce Eric's point, dramatic improvements can be had by simple
measurements. Now I happen to believe that measuring forecasted accuracy
in product sales generates undesirable side effects. That is the subject
for another time. This is why systems thinking is so critical. For the
fun of it! FWIW....Keith


Keith Cowan <72212.51@CompuServe.COM>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>