Managing by the Numbers

John Fodeh, HP - Mercury

Metrics can play a vital role in software development and testing. We use metrics to track progress, assess situations, predict events, and more. However, measuring often creates "people issues," which, when ignored, become obstacles to success or may even result in the death of a metrics program. People often feel threatened by the metrics gathered. Distortion factors may be added by the people performing and communicating the measurements. When being measured, people can react with creative, sophisticated, and unexpected behaviors. Thus our well-intentioned efforts may have a counter-productive effect on individuals and the organization as a whole. John Fodeh addresses some of the typical people issues and shows how cognitive science and social psychology can play important roles in the proper use of metrics. John demonstrates different presentation and communication techniques and raises an important question: By recognizing that metrics can influence people to alter their behavior, is it possible-and ethical-to use "motivational" metrics to improve team behavior?

  • Sociological and psychological factors that emerge when using metrics
  • Coping with "people issues" when implementing a metrics program
  • Communicate your metrics to avoid "metrics malpractice"

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