Is Performance Management Art, Craft or Science?

March 3, 2009
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In my recent blog about my trip to Rome, Italy, I marveled at the great architectures and sculptures, wondering how much of those achievements were from art, craft or science. I then asked the similar question about various implementations of performance management methodologies, such as dashboards, scorecards, strategy maps, costing models, and customer intelligence reporting.

Let’s further discuss this question. In that blog I said, “The art and craft of developing and maintaining performance management designs is evolving into a science.” What did I mean?

Despite my Newtonian view (probably shared by a vast majority in business and IT) that an organization is a big machine that simply needs more gears, pulleys and dials to better operate it, many of my blogs and articles describe the importance of behavioral change management. (A good example is my blog, “Why Do You Have to Be a Sociologist to Implement Performance Management?”) I realize there is also a Darwinian view that an organization is like an organism, and we must acknowledge its sense-and-respond behavior. A balance of the Newtonian and Darwinian management styles is needed for a healthy organization.



In my recent blog about my trip to Rome, Italy, I marveled at the great architectures and sculptures, wondering how much of those achievements were from art, craft or science. I then asked the similar question about various implementations of performance management methodologies, such as dashboards, scorecards, strategy maps, costing models, and customer intelligence reporting.

Let’s further discuss this question. In that blog I said, “The art and craft of developing and maintaining performance management designs is evolving into a science.” What did I mean?

Despite my Newtonian view (probably shared by a vast majority in business and IT) that an organization is a big machine that simply needs more gears, pulleys and dials to better operate it, many of my blogs and articles describe the importance of behavioral change management. (A good example is my blog, “Why Do You Have to Be a Sociologist to Implement Performance Management?”) I realize there is also a Darwinian view that an organization is like an organism, and we must acknowledge its sense-and-respond behavior. A balance of the Newtonian and Darwinian management styles is needed for a healthy organization.

But please indulge me for the next few paragraphs, and let’s explore how science in the form of business analytics can be inserted into performance management methodologies.
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