The New Project Management: Tools for an Age of Rapid Change, Complexity, and Other Business Realities

By J. Davidson Frame | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
Understanding and Using
Performance Metrics

Measuring the Right Stuff

Imagine driving an automobile with a nonfunctioning speedometer. You would probably feel very uncomfortable. As you passed posted speed limit signs, you would not know whether you were exceeding the limit, thus risking a speeding ticket. On the highway, you might decide to travel the same speed as the other cars on the road, but when you saw the police pulling over cars in your group, you might decide this was not a wise policy. Without the speedometer, you would have high levels of uncertainty about your driving performance.

Our lives are filled with measurement. Upon awakening in the morning, we check our weight by standing on a scale. We then go into the kitchen where we measure out two scoops of ground coffee, which we put into our coffee brewer. We set the brewer for “extra-strong” coffee. The newspaper delivery boy drops by, and we pay him for two months of newspaper deliveries. We look at our watch and realize with horror that we have only fifteen minutes left before we should leave for the office. The office is located ten miles away. Given an average commuting speed of thirty miles per hour, we estimate that it should take us twenty minutes to reach the office.

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