Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Spreadsheet for the Perfect Party

I recently read "The enigma within the knowledge economy", an article in the Financial Times (p.9 2nd Feb).

The FT reports on the "Information Work Productivity Council", set up by Microsoft to measure intanngible benefits. According to the article, it's a reaction to customers requiring more evidence of the value of IT investment in leaner times. No suprises there. What did disappoint me though, was the quote from HP's CKO, Craig Samuel: "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". Shame on him for using such an outdated cliche. It reinforces the view that management is something you do with spreadsheets. He should be pushing an agenda that changes expectations about what information you need to manage, relying much more on trusting perceptions and qualitative evidence. Have you ever been in a relationship? Do you feel you have any influence on how well it goes? Yet have you ever measured love? Loyalty? When you throw a party what do you put in the spreadsheet to make sure its a success? Actually, anyone who pulls out a spreadsheet in the middle of a party probably makes it likely to fail. Managing knowledge workers, I feel, is much the same.

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