Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More
By Mark Graban
Foreword by Donald J. Wheeler, Ph.D.
This is my new book based on the “Better Metrics” workshops that I have been doing in recent years. These are methods I've been learning, using, and teaching for over 20 years. I've blogged a lot on this topic, as well, over the years. I also presented about this at Lean Startup Week in 2017.
The latest book from Shingo Award-winning author Mark Graban (Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen) teaches managers, business owners, and improvement specialists how to most effectively look at metrics and performance measures – a key challenge for any organization.
If you feel stuck on a rollercoaster ride of getting excited or upset about every up and down in a metric, this book shows a better way to chart and track metrics over time, learning when to react and when to step back and look at improving processes in a systematic and sustainable way. When we overreact to “noise” in a metric, it leads to a lot of wasted effort time – time that should be used to improve instead of overexplaining every change in a metric. Readers will learn how to identify statistically meaningful “signals” and shifts in a metric and how to properly respond.
Using examples from healthcare, startup software companies, manufacturing, and more, Graban makes these methods accessible and actionable, providing vivid stories and examples that anyone can relate to. You’ll learn how to create and use “process behavior charts,” a simple yet powerful statistical method that has been proven in many settings.
“Everyone who is exposed to business data of any type needs to read this book.” – Donald J. Wheeler, Ph.D., author of Understanding Variation.
About the Project
This project is still an “in-progress book” and has been released through LeanPub. If you buy the book now, you get early access to the first chapters and new content and revisions will be made available to you at no additional charge.
In the spirit of “Lean Publishing,” everything can be iterated and improved until the book is complete. Your input as an early reader will make this a better book in the end.
You can now pre-order through Amazon's Kindle Store (and I anticipate the book will be released there before September 1).
Hypothesis Behind the Book
Potential book readers are under great pressure to improve, but have limited time. As organizations add more performance measures and look at their metrics more frequently, there's lots of data available… but does that really lead to improvement?
Current management methods such as red/green analysis, comparisons to targets, and comparisons to past results don't help them distinguish between “noise” and meaningful “signals” in those metrics. A better method would save time and help focus efforts where they matter – knowing when it's appropriate to react and look for root causes of changes in performance… and when to step back and study and improve the system and its overall performance in a more systematic, less reactive way.
I also have a page on Leanpub.com, which is where I am initially publishing the book. I'll am going the “in-progress publishing” route that LeanPub defines as the core of “Lean publishing,” meaning early buyers will be able to buy the first few chapters and then give input and feedback.
I'd love to hear your comments if you'd post them below or contact me.
Related and Existing Content
My talk at Lean Startup Week 2017:
Here is a webinar I've done on some of these concepts:
Some blog posts on the themes I'd cover in the book (but the book won't simply be a collection of blog posts):