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Dave Beans

KPIs - the devil incarnate?

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I understand that its important to measure the progress of something, but its getting insidious...I have about 35 I have to contend with..and will increase over the next few months...Does it ever end?

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13 minutes ago, Dave Beans said:

I understand that its important to measure the progress of something, but its getting insidious...I have about 35 I have to contend with..and will increase over the next few months...Does it ever end?

It's the road to nowhere. It's what companies with no strategic advantage do as an alternative - concentrate solely on operational efficiency that is. It's a race to the bottom from what I've seen.

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One of the reasons I quit the rat race. The whole appraisal process where I was forced to rank a percentage of a perfectly good well performing team as 'under performing'. Stupid HR d1cks.

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I'm in HR and or IT services. We have KPI:s for vendors but internally the only real "what are the employees really thinking" is a red/yellow/green gut feeling appraisal from the country HR leader. Works quite well and typically reflects the KPI:s. 

Net: i can bollock vendors but internally no one really cares unless "red" and then my life is rightly hell..

 

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3 hours ago, ntb said:

One of the reasons I quit the rat race. The whole appraisal process where I was forced to rank a percentage of a perfectly good well performing team as 'under performing'. Stupid HR d1cks.

Big large company? I'm in one of those too. Feels like it must change soon. Some kind of weird suboptimal relic.

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Yes. Aliens Fester. Succumbed to the Spanish Armada at which point it got decidedly vile. Had to leave for my sanity.

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15 hours ago, Dave Beans said:

I understand that its important to measure the progress of something, but its getting insidious...I have about 35 I have to contend with..and will increase over the next few months...Does it ever end?

two (three) choices:

  • Learn how they work.  As with all metrics, the secret to success is to work to the metric...  This can be quite entertaining & rewarding if done well -- work out tools & training that you need to advance your career, and adjust your targets etc so that you need them to meet the KPI (and then request them) -- if you don't get them, then you have a reason for not meeting the KPI (their fault), and if you do get them you've got some nice training to get a new job, pay rise or just entertainment.
  • Ignore them -- but only if you've in the right position.  I had a colleague once who knew that he was irreplaceable and just ignored them.  About once a year the middle manager of the day (constantly changing, of course) would send out the latest missive, then get cross when he'd just be ignored.  After a short flurry the senior management would quietly tell him not to disturb the one of the few people in the office that actually did any work, that they couldn't replace if they left, and who was pivotal in several key projects.
  • Leave.  Life outside of the corporate world can be a bit scary, but so long as you're not completely dumb it should be okay -- and the reduced stress from the lack of biannual performance reviews should add years to your life.

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It is getting way out of hand. But 35 and increasing...that is astonishing?

I see the current trends of measuring everything baked in now and only liken to worse as technology marches on. Mental health is being sacrified at this altar though, I know I am personally becoming disillusioned with this culture.

I look after a manufacturing site (amongst a growing list of inherited responsiblities) and a lot of KPIs discourage  you from improving actual performance or reporting honestly. Case in point: when I started accidents went from about 1 every 2 years to about 8-10/year. Nothing changed safety wise, I just made a concerted effort to make sure everybody reported them (never bothered before) so I could see where problems were occuring...ultimately so I could address them. Ofcourse these numbers raised eyebrows...so guess what happens now? Same thing happens with quality control, have some stories of that in another job! Management used to beat the c**p out of the shopfloor and sanction bonus pot when quality issues were reported...so they weren't. As long as the numbers look good ignore the chaos on the plant. I used to do a monthly management report (about 30 pages long), it was rapidly becoming a work of fiction. I was a slave to spreadsheets, never spent any time doing anything remotely productive or value creating. The figures didn't actually matter (I worked that out), real business performance didn't actually matter, only making the trend line go in the right direction with time was important. So, if you start doing something new in your job,  don't make it to the best of your ability first time round, steadily improve (at a controlled and deliberate pace) to bring real plaudits. Job done. Tick box.

Work is a joke these days, it is playing the game, day in day out. And we call it the "productivity puzzle"? Carney needs to spend a week in the workplace and see how much crap of non-value most of us are benchmarked against. Like Dgul says, have to play it or leave. I have learned to try and do my job to the best of my ability and just "deal with" all the BS that prevents me from doing said job. I don't take it seriously anymore as I don't believe in it. Tell them what they want to hear. With a bit of a brain you can make sure you don't fall foul of the "rules". It is all good as well if you have a little bit of clout to give you the room to set your own KPIs too. That is where you can get creative.

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17 minutes ago, SillyBilly said:

It is getting way out of hand. But 35 and increasing...that is astonishing?

I see the current trends of measuring everything baked in now and only liken to worse as technology marches on. Mental health is being sacrified at this altar though, I know I am personally becoming disillusioned with this culture.

I look after a manufacturing site (amongst a growing list of inherited responsiblities) and a lot of KPIs discourage  you from improving actual performance or reporting honestly. Case in point: when I started accidents went from about 1 every 2 years to about 8-10/year. Nothing changed safety wise, I just made a concerted effort to make sure everybody reported them (never bothered before) so I could see where problems were occuring...ultimately so I could address them. Ofcourse these numbers raised eyebrows...so guess what happens now? Same thing happens with quality control, have some stories of that in another job! Management used to beat the c**p out of the shopfloor and sanction bonus pot when quality issues were reported...so they weren't. As long as the numbers look good ignore the chaos on the plant. I used to do a monthly management report (about 30 pages long), it was rapidly becoming a work of fiction. I was a slave to spreadsheets, never spent any time doing anything remotely productive or value creating. The figures didn't actually matter (I worked that out), real business performance didn't actually matter, only making the trend line go in the right direction with time was important. So, if you start doing something new in your job,  don't make it to the best of your ability first time round, steadily improve (at a controlled and deliberate pace) to bring real plaudits. Job done. Tick box.

Work is a joke these days, it is playing the game, day in day out. Like Dgul says, have to play it or leave. I have learned to try and do my job to the best of my ability and just "deal with" all the BS that prevents me from doing said job. I don't take it seriously anymore as I don't believe in it. Tell them what they want to hear. With a bit of a brain you can make sure you don't fall foul of the "rules". It is all good as well if you have a little bit of clout to give you the room to set your own KPIs too. That is where you can get creative.

I would guess that there are millions out there who feel similar about the world of work. Stressed out population!

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”


― Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
I wonder how many people have the luxury of just being themselves at work?

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Computers innit. Time was folks had intuition or experience. Now they just watch metrics processed by computers. Likes, hits, friends, clicks. Living by numbers.

It works. For a while.

When this site first started up - remember that? No, course you don't. Anyway, when it started up, a handful thought there was something wrong with housing policy.

We wrote day and night about how we saw things. Despite politicians pandering to people's property price inflation hopes. Despite what the media was saying. Despite Kirstie Alsopp declaring us "terrorists". That really is how out-there we were. Bit like Nigel Farage. See, we knew not everyone was enjoying the ride.

And we were idealists. Most of us were in a position not only to buy, not only to own outright, but to own outright many times over.

And because we were idealists we came over as genuine. And others soon joined our cause. And over the years, we stuck to our guns. Despite the hate. Despite government intervention and devotion to ever rising prices.

And after 13 years what have we to show for it? Not a lot. Governments and the MPC saw to that, snatching victory from us just when it looked like we had to be right.

But one thing has changed. We are now no longer "terrorists".Our views are no longer taboo. Instead our leaders talk of unreasonably high prices and unaffordability. Even of mass building programs. The press talks of forcing house builders to use land banks or lose 'em.

They are converted in all but action.

Because they have looked at their KPIs. Their ratings. Their polls. Soulless, heartless, vacuous, clueless f***ers that they are.

We started this site without a poll. Without a metric. Now look how it's run.

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1 hour ago, SillyBilly said:

It is getting way out of hand. But 35 and increasing...that is astonishing?

I see the current trends of measuring everything baked in now and only liken to worse as technology marches on. Mental health is being sacrified at this altar though, I know I am personally becoming disillusioned with this culture.

I look after a manufacturing site (amongst a growing list of inherited responsiblities) and a lot of KPIs discourage  you from improving actual performance or reporting honestly. Case in point: when I started accidents went from about 1 every 2 years to about 8-10/year. Nothing changed safety wise, I just made a concerted effort to make sure everybody reported them (never bothered before) so I could see where problems were occuring...ultimately so I could address them. Ofcourse these numbers raised eyebrows...so guess what happens now? Same thing happens with quality control, have some stories of that in another job! Management used to beat the c**p out of the shopfloor and sanction bonus pot when quality issues were reported...so they weren't. As long as the numbers look good ignore the chaos on the plant. I used to do a monthly management report (about 30 pages long), it was rapidly becoming a work of fiction. I was a slave to spreadsheets, never spent any time doing anything remotely productive or value creating. The figures didn't actually matter (I worked that out), real business performance didn't actually matter, only making the trend line go in the right direction with time was important. So, if you start doing something new in your job,  don't make it to the best of your ability first time round, steadily improve (at a controlled and deliberate pace) to bring real plaudits. Job done. Tick box.

Work is a joke these days, it is playing the game, day in day out. And we call it the "productivity puzzle"? Carney needs to spend a week in the workplace and see how much crap of non-value most of us are benchmarked against. Like Dgul says, have to play it or leave. I have learned to try and do my job to the best of my ability and just "deal with" all the BS that prevents me from doing said job. I don't take it seriously anymore as I don't believe in it. Tell them what they want to hear. With a bit of a brain you can make sure you don't fall foul of the "rules". It is all good as well if you have a little bit of clout to give you the room to set your own KPIs too. That is where you can get creative.

Wihin the next couple of months, my manager will be responsible for 176 metrics...

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html?_r=0

Sounds like hell...

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16 minutes ago, Dave Beans said:

Wihin the next couple of months, my manager will be responsible for 176 metrics...

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html?_r=0

Sounds like hell...

Solzhenitsyn novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich mentions how the Team Leaders amongst the Zeks in the Gulag spent all day just fiddling the production figures they gave to the camp authorities

I am less than a year from retirement yet I still have to go through the annual farce of producing a 'career development plan' and signing up to lots of ludicrous corporate objectives.

I always feel like adding a few extra ones of my own such as

'I will lead the legions of the Danube in a march on Rome and have myself declared Emperor'

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1 hour ago, Sledgehead said:

Computers innit. Time was folks had intuition or experience. Now they just watch metrics processed by computers. Likes, hits, friends, clicks. Living by numbers.

It works. For a while.

When this site first started up - remember that? No, course you don't. Anyway, when it started up, a handful thought there was something wrong with housing policy.

We wrote day and night about how we saw things. Despite politicians pandering to people's property price inflation hopes. Despite what the media was saying. Despite Kirstie Alsopp declaring us "terrorists". That really is how out-there we were. Bit like Nigel Farage. See, we knew not everyone was enjoying the ride.

And we were idealists. Most of us were in a position not only to buy, not only to own outright, but to own outright many times over.

And because we were idealists we came over as genuine. And others soon joined our cause. And over the years, we stuck to our guns. Despite the hate. Despite government intervention and devotion to ever rising prices.

And after 13 years what have we to show for it? Not a lot. Governments and the MPC saw to that, snatching victory from us just when it looked like we had to be right.

But one thing has changed. We are now no longer "terrorists".Our views are no longer taboo. Instead our leaders talk of unreasonably high prices and unaffordability. Even of mass building programs. The press talks of forcing house builders to use land banks or lose 'em.

They are converted in all but action.

Because they have looked at their KPIs. Their ratings. Their polls. Soulless, heartless, vacuous, clueless f***ers that they are.

We started this site without a poll. Without a metric. Now look how it's run.

Well said!

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I'm a research scientist now outside the 'system'. KPIs were part of the reason, a most demoralising management tool. At the outset of the year you had to state what your own deliverables would be for the coming year and then you were assessed against them 12 months later. Part of the reason I enjoy being a research scientist is because I don't necessarily know what I will be doing next month, let alone for the next 12; My own KPIs reduced the flexibility to take a different path as the my deliverables had to be met. So inevitably, your own deliverables, given simply to satisfy your line manager, were yet another thing used as a stick to beat you with, irrespective of what you had achieved during the year. Of course those who did nothing exciting and met their deliverables, tick, tick, tick, rapidly became line managers.

I'm not alone. I was in France recently at a multidisciplinary meeting and during the coffee break discussion I was asked, why is it that many free-thinking UK scientists are now outside the system in some way?; mainland EU scientists were wondering what had happened in the UK. Well, KPIs were one of the many things.

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2 hours ago, DrMartinSanchez said:

I used to work in a place where IT programmers were assessed on the number of bugs they fixed.
It's easy to imagine where this leads.

It's the Cobra effect.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobra_effect

Indeed fascinating. Using the like you provided I'd say the Rat Effect would take play encouraging workers to produce sloppy code only to debug and make the KPI benchmarks ;)

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The best most worthwhile things in life are actually not measured.....measured targets are prime targets to find new ways of short cutting to achieve....;)

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7 hours ago, winkie said:

The best most worthwhile things in life are actually not measured.....measured targets are prime targets to find new ways of short cutting to achieve....;)

 winkie - are all 35k of your posts like chinese proverbs?  I agree with much of what you post but can you be less cryptic on occasions?

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19 hours ago, bendy said:

 winkie - are all 35k of your posts like chinese proverbs?  I agree with much of what you post but can you be less cryptic on occasions?

bendy, not trying to be confucius, only saying it how I see it.....;)

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