Measuring What Matters.

Author:Walsh, Donna
Position:Book review

Measuring What Matters, by Rod Napier and Rich McDaniel, Book, 2006, Davies-Black Publishing, $39.95.

Back in ancient times--the mid-1990s--"quality" was the word in business. Do you remember the flurry of buzzwords and cliches: ISO 9000, Malcolm Baldridge awards, reengineering, benchmarking, process improvement, TQM, etc.? Lots of sayings were batted around in those days. One was, "If it is not measured, it is not managed."

Of course, we knew about measuring, and, even now, most organizations invest a lot of time and resources in metrics. Surveys are conducted, data is graphed, charts are displayed, and reports are distributed. Unfortunately, practical, realistic information regarding what to measure and why has been scarce--up until now.

For people in the trenches

Measuring What Matters: Simplified Tools for Aligning Teams and Their Stakeholders, written by Rod Napier and Rich McDaniel, provides the missing ingredients of measurement. Both authors bring a wealth of knowledge from their respective careers in industry and academia. Their book wasn't crafted for the ivory tower set. It is meant for those who work in the trenches in the real world.

The book provides an in-depth, easy-to-use set of instructions and exercises that prepare the reader to collect data that has meaning for the actual work of a company. The authors demystify both the concept and process of measuring and distill them into a simple approach. Napier and McDaniel define measuring what matters as "the exchange of value between work teams and their core stakeholders."

Explanation and case studies

Part 1 focuses on essential concepts such as how there are always at least three stakeholders: customers, employees, and owners. They provide a simple process that enables the reader to define and measure value received and value delivered, beginning...

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