Re: Productivity, usability, and blind spots

Subject: Re: Productivity, usability, and blind spots
From: Stephen -dot- MacDonald -at- Aspect -dot- com
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 10:08:39 -0400

Steven Jong wrote:

> ... Usability is a quality of a product, while productivity is a quality
> the process by which a product is manufactured.


> Elna Tymes <etymes -at- lts -dot- com> made the excellent point that productivity
> work produced over time, and that we as writers can't control the time
> (because of delayed input or schedule slips, for example). For me, that
> puts the final nail in the coffin of productivity as an individual metric.

This is an an important point often not understood by folks starting a
metrics program. Note that Steven is NOT saying that you should not measure
productivity at the individual level, but if you do, understand it is a
process metric and not a measure of the individual.

If you have ten people doing the same work and one consistently produces
less than the other nine, more often than not, an honest investigation finds
significant differences in that case that have nothing to do with personal
effort. Maybe the person was not trained adequately or has a work
environment with distractions or obstacles not present for the others, or
the tools or implements used in the process don't work as well as for the
others, etc. Any of these factors can be present in a manufacturing process
or a process such as we use for doing technical writing.

Steve MacDonald
Aspect Communications, Inc.

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