26 December 2015

Business Intelligence: Measurement (Just the Quotes)

"There is no inquiry which is not finally reducible to a question of Numbers; for there is none which may not be conceived of as consisting in the determination of quantities by each other, according to certain relations." (Auguste Comte, “The Positive Philosophy”, 1830)

"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of science.” (Lord Kelvin, "Electrical Units of Measurement", 1883)

“Of itself an arithmetic average is more likely to conceal than to disclose important facts; it is the nature of an abbreviation, and is often an excuse for laziness.” (Arthur Lyon Bowley, “The Nature and Purpose of the Measurement of Social Phenomena”, 1915)

“Science depends upon measurement, and things not measurable are therefore excluded, or tend to be excluded, from its attention.” (Arthur J Balfour, “Address”, 1917)

“It is important to realize that it is not the one measurement, alone, but its relation to the rest of the sequence that is of interest.” (William E Deming, “Statistical Adjustment of Data”, 1943)

“The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers […] sometimes […] the purpose of computing numbers is not yet in sight.” (Richard Hamming, “Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers”, 1962)

“A quantity like time, or any other physical measurement, does not exist in a completely abstract way. We find no sense in talking about something unless we specify how we measure it. It is the definition by the method of measuring a quantity that is the one sure way of avoiding talking nonsense...” (Hermann Bondi, “Relativity and Common Sense”, 1964)

“Measurement, we have seen, always has an element of error in it. The most exact description or prediction that a scientist can make is still only approximate.” (Abraham Kaplan, “The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science”, 1964)

“A mature science, with respect to the matter of errors in variables, is not one that measures its variables without error, for this is impossible. It is, rather, a science which properly manages its errors, controlling their magnitudes and correctly calculating their implications for substantive conclusions.” (Otis D Duncan, “Introduction to Structural Equation Models”, 1975)

“Data in isolation are meaningless, a collection of numbers. Only in context of a theory do they assume significance […]” (George Greenstein, “Frozen Star”, 1983)

"Changing measures are a particularly common problem with comparisons over time, but measures also can cause problems of their own. [...] We cannot talk about change without making comparisons over time. We cannot avoid such comparisons, nor should we want to. However, there are several basic problems that can affect statistics about change. It is important to consider the problems posed by changing - and sometimes unchanging - measures, and it is also important to recognize the limits of predictions. Claims about change deserve critical inspection; we need to ask ourselves whether apples are being compared to apples - or to very different objects." (Joel Best, "Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists", 2001)

“The value of having numbers - data - is that they aren't subject to someone else's interpretation. They are just the numbers. You can decide what they mean for you.” (Emily Oster, “Expecting Better”, 2013)

25 December 2015

Business Intelligence: Graphics (Just the Quotes)

"As to the propriety and justness of representing sums of money, and time, by parts of space, tho’ very readily agreed to by most men, yet a few seem to apprehend there may possibly be some deception in it, of which they are not aware […]" (William Playfair, "The Commercial and Political Atlas", 1786)

"If statistical graphics, although born just yesterday, extends its reach every day, it is because it replaces long tables of numbers and it allows one not only to embrace at glance the series of phenomena, but also to signal the correspondences or anomalies, to find the causes, to identify the laws." (Émile Cheysson, cca. 1877) 

"The preliminary examination of most data is facilitated by the use of diagrams. Diagrams prove nothing, but bring outstanding features readily to the eye; they are therefore no substitutes for such critical tests as may be applied to the data, but are valuable in suggesting such tests, and in explaining the conclusions founded upon them." (Sir Ronald A Fisher, "Statistical Methods for Research Workers", 1925)

"Factual science may collect statistics, and make charts. But its predictions are, as has been well said, but past history reversed." (John Dewey, "Art as Experience", 1934)

"Although, the tabular arrangement is the fundamental form for presenting a statistical series, a graphic representation - in a chart or diagram - is often of great aid in the study and reporting of statistical facts. Moreover, sometimes statistical data must be taken, in their sources, from graphic rather than tabular records." (William L Crum et al, "Introduction to Economic Statistics", 1938)

"Graphic charts have often been thought to be tools of those alone who are highly skilled in mathematics, but one needs to have a knowledge of only eighth-grade arithmetic to use intelligently even the logarithmic or ratio chart, which is considered so difficult by those unfamiliar with it. […] If graphic methods are to be most effective, those who are unfamiliar with charts must give some attention to their fundamental structure. Even simple charts may be misinterpreted unless they are thoroughly understood. For instance, one is not likely to read an arithmetic chart correctly unless he also appreciates the significance of a logarithmic chart." (John R Riggleman & Ira N Frisbee, "Business Statistics", 1938)

"Graphic methods are very commonly used in business correlation problems. On the whole, carefully handled and skillfully interpreted graphs have certain advantages over mathematical methods of determining correlation in the usual business problems. The elements of judgment and special knowledge of conditions can be more easily introduced in studying correlation graphically. Mathematical correlation is often much too rigid for the data at hand." (John R Riggleman & Ira N Frisbee, "Business Statistics", 1938)

"One of the greatest values of the graphic chart is its use in the analysis of a problem. Ordinarily, the chart brings up many questions which require careful consideration and further research before a satisfactory conclusion can be reached. A properly drawn chart gives a cross-section picture of the situation. While charts may bring out. hidden facts in tables or masses of data, they cannot take the place of careful, analysis. In fact, charts may be dangerous devices when in the hands of those unwilling to base their interpretations upon careful study. This, however, does not detract from their value when they are properly used as aids in solving statistical problems." (John R Riggleman & Ira N Frisbee, "Business Statistics", 1938)

"The eye can accurately appraise only very few features of a diagram, and consequently a complicated or confusing diagram will lead the reader astray. The fundamental rule for all charting is to use a plan which is simple and which takes account, in its arrangement of the facts to be presented, of the above-mentioned capacities of the eye."  (William L Crum et al, "Introduction to Economic Statistics", 1938)

"For many purposes graphical accuracy is sufficient. The speed of graphical processes, and more especially the advantages of visual presentation in pointing out facts or clues which might otherwise be overlooked, make graphical analysis very valuable." (Frederick Mosteller & John W Tukey, "The Uses and Usefulness of Binomial Probability Paper?", Journal of the American Statistical Association 44, 1949)

"If significance tests are required for still larger samples, graphical accuracy is insufficient, and arithmetical methods are advised. A word to the wise is in order here, however. Almost never does it make sense to use exact binomial significance tests on such data - for the inevitable small deviations from the mathematical model of independence and constant split have piled up to such an extent that the binomial variability is deeply buried and unnoticeable. Graphical treatment of such large samples may still be worthwhile because it brings the results more vividly to the eye." (Frederick Mosteller & John W Tukey, "The Uses and Usefulness of Binomial Probability Paper?", Journal of the American Statistical Association 44, 1949)

"The technical analysis of any large collection of data is a task for a highly trained and expensive man who knows the mathematical theory of statistics inside and out. Otherwise the outcome is likely to be a collection of drawings - quartered pies, cute little battleships, and tapering rows of sturdy soldiers in diversified uniforms - interesting enough in the colored Sunday supplement, but hardly the sort of thing from which to draw reliable inferences." (Eric T Bell, "Mathematics: Queen and Servant of Science", 1951)

"The primary purpose of a graph is to show diagrammatically how the values of one of two linked variables change with those of the other. One of the most useful applications of the graph occurs in connection with the representation of statistical data." (John F Kenney & E S Keeping, "Mathematics of Statistics" Vol. I 3rd Ed., 1954)

"The aim of the graphic is to make the relationship among previously defined sets appear." (Jacques Bertin, "Semiology of graphics" ["Semiologie Graphique"], 1967)

"One of the methods making the data intelligible is to represent it by means of graphs and diagrams. The graphic & diagrammatic representation of the data is always appealing to the eye as well as to the mind of the observer." (S P Singh & R P S Verma, "Agricultural Statistics", cca. 1969)

"Pencil and paper for construction of distributions, scatter diagrams, and run-charts to compare small groups and to detect trends are more efficient methods of estimation than statistical inference that depends on variances and standard errors, as the simple techniques preserve the information in the original data." (W Edwards Deming, "On Probability as Basis for Action", American Statistician Vol. 29 (4), 1975)

"The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see." (John W Tukey, "Exploratory Data Analysis", 1977) 

"Although advice on how and when to draw graphs is available, we have no theory of statistical graphics […]" (Stephen Fienberg, "The American Statistician", Graphical Methods in Statistics Vol. 13 (4), 1979)

"Excellence in statistical graphics consists of complex ideas communicated
with clarity, precision, and efficiency. Graphical displays should
- show the data
- induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about the
methodology, graphic design, the technology of graphic production,
or something else
- avoid distorting what the data have to say
- present many numbers in a small space
- make large data sets coherent
- encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data
- reveal the data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview to the
- serve a reasonable clear purpose: description, exploration, tabulation,
- be closely integrated." (Edward R Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", 1983)

"Graphical excellence is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space." (Edward R Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", 1983)

"Graphical integrity is more likely to result if these six principles are followed:
The representation of numbers, as physically measured on the surface of the graphic itself, should be directly proportional to the numerical quantities represented.
Clear, detailed, and thorough labeling should be used to defeat graphical distortion and ambiguity. Write out explanations of the data on the graphic itself. Label important events in the data.
Show data variations, not design variations. 
In time-series displays of money, deflated and standardized units of monetary measurements are nearly always better than nominal units.
The number of information-carrying (variable) dimensions depicted should not exceed the number of dimensions in the data.
Graphics must not quote data out of context." (Edward R Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", 1983)

"Inept graphics also flourish because many graphic artists believe that statistics are boring and tedious. It then follows that decorated graphics must pep up, animate, and all too often exaggerate what evidence there is in the data. […] If the statistics are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers." (Edward R Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", 1983)

"Of course statistical graphics, just like statistical calculations, are only as good as what goes into them. An ill-specified or preposterous model or a puny data set cannot be rescued by a graphic (or by calculation), no matter how clever or fancy. A silly theory means a silly graphic." (Edward R Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", 1983)

"The theory of the visual display of quantitative information consists of principles that generate design options and that guide choices among options. The principles should not be applied rigidly or in a peevish spirit; they are not logically or mathematically certain; and it is better to violate any principle than to place graceless or inelegant marks on paper. Most principles of design should be greeted with some skepticism, for word authority can dominate our vision, and we may come to see only though the lenses of word authority rather than with our own eyes." (Edward R Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", 1983)

"Despite the prevailing use of graphs as metaphors for communicating and reasoning about dependencies, the task of capturing informational dependencies by graphs is not at all trivial." (Judea Pearl, "Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems: Network of Plausible Inference", 1988)

"What about confusing clutter? Information overload? Doesn't data have to be ‘boiled down’ and  ‘simplified’? These common questions miss the point, for the quantity of detail is an issue completely separate from the difficulty of reading. Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information." (Edward R Tufte, "Envisioning Information", 1990)

"The illusion of randomness gradually disappears as the skill in chart reading improves." (John W. Murphy, "Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets", 1999) 

"The real value of dashboard products lies in their ability to replace hunt‐and‐peck data‐gathering techniques with a tireless, adaptable, information‐flow mechanism. Dashboards transform data repositories into consumable information." (Gregory L Hovis, "Stop Searching for InformationMonitor it with Dashboard Technology," DM Direct, 2002)

"Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure." (Edward R Tufte, "The cognitive style of PowerPoint", 2003)

"Computers are able to multiply useless images without taking into account that, by definition, every graphic corresponds to a table. This table allows you to think about three basic questions that go from the particular to the general level. When this last one receives an answer, you have answers for all of them. Understanding means accessing the general level and discovering significant grouping (patterns). Consequently, the function of a graphic is answering the three following questions:
Which are the X,Y, Z components of the data table? (What it’s all about?)
What are the groups in X, in Y that Z builds? (What the information at the general level is?
What are the exceptions?
These questions can be applied to every kind of problem. They measure the usefulness of whatever construction or graphical invention allowing you to avoid useless graphics." (Jacques Bertin [interview], 2003)

"Data is transformed into graphics to understand. A map, a diagram are documents to be interrogated. But understanding means integrating all of the data. In order to do this it’s necessary to reduce it to a small number of elementary data. This is the objective of the 'data treatment' be it graphic or mathematic." (Jacques Bertin [interview], 2003)

"If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won't make them relevant." (Edward R Tufte, "The cognitive style of PowerPoint", 2003)

"Dashboards and visualization are cognitive tools that improve your 'span of control' over a lot of business data. These tools help people visually identify trends, patterns and anomalies, reason about what they see and help guide them toward effective decisions. As such, these tools need to leverage people's visual capabilities. With the prevalence of scorecards, dashboards and other visualization tools now widely available for business users to review their data, the issue of visual information design is more important than ever." (Richard Brath & Michael Peters, "Dashboard Design: Why Design is Important," DM Direct, 2004)

"Graphical design notations have been with us for a while [...] their primary value is in communication and understanding. A good diagram can often help communicate ideas about a design, particularly when you want to avoid a lot of details. Diagrams can also help you understand either a software system or a business process. As part of a team trying to figure out something, diagrams both help understanding and communicate that understanding throughout a team. Although they aren't, at least yet, a replacement for textual programming languages, they are a helpful assistant." (Martin Fowler, "UML Distilled: A Brief Guide to the Standard Object Modeling", 2004)

"[...] when data is presented in certain ways, the patterns can be readily perceived. If we can understand how perception works, our knowledge can be translated into rules for displaying information. Following perception‐based rules, we can present our data in such a way that the important and informative patterns stand out. If we disobey the rules, our data will be incomprehensible or misleading." (Colin Ware, "Information Visualization: Perception for Design" 2nd Ed., 2004)

"An effective dashboard is the product not of cute gauges, meters, and traffic lights, but rather of informed design: more science than art, more simplicity than dazzle. It is, above all else, about communication." (Stephen Few, "Information Dashboard Design", 2006)

"Most dashboards fail to communicate efficiently and effectively, not because of inadequate technology (at least not primarily), but because of poorly designed implementations. No matter how great the technology, a dashboard's success as a medium of communication is a product of design, a result of a display that speaks clearly and immediately. Dashboards can tap into the tremendous power of visual perception to communicate, but only if those who implement them understand visual perception and apply that understanding through design principles and practices that are aligned with the way people see and think." (Stephen Few, "Information Dashboard Design", 2006)

"Clearly principles and guidelines for good presentation graphics have a role to play in exploratory graphics, but personal taste and individual working style also play important roles. The same data may be presented in many alternative ways, and taste and customs differ as to what is regarded as a good presentation graphic. Nevertheless, there are principles that should be respected and guidelines that are generally worth following. No one should expect a perfect consensus where graphics are concerned. (Antony Unwin, "Good Graphics?"[in "Handbook of Data Visualization"], 2008)

"For a given dataset there is not a great deal of advice which can be given on content and context. hose who know their own data should know best for their specific purposes. It is advisable to think hard about what should be shown and to check with others if the graphic makes the desired impression. Design should be let to designers, though some basic guidelines should be followed: consistency is important (sets of graphics should be in similar style and use equivalent scaling); proximity is helpful (place graphics on the same page, or on the facing page, of any text that refers to them); and layout should be checked (graphics should be neither too small nor too large and be attractively positioned relative to the whole page or display)."(Antony Unwin, "Good Graphics?" [in "Handbook of Data Visualization"], 2008)

"Graphical displays are often constructed to place principal focus on the individual observations in a dataset, and this is particularly helpful in identifying both the typical positions of datapoints and unusual or influential cases. However, in many investigations, principal interest lies in identifying the nature of underlying trends and relationships between variables, and so it is oten helpful to enhance graphical displays in wayswhich give deeper insight into these features.his can be very beneficial both for small datasets, where variation can obscure underlying patterns, and large datasets, where the volume of data is so large that effective representation inevitably involves suitable summaries." (Adrian W Bowman, "Smoothing Techniques for Visualisation" [in "Handbook of Data Visualization"], 2008)

"There are two main reasons for using graphic displays of datasets: either to present or to explore data. Presenting data involves deciding what information you want to convey and drawing a display appropriate for the content and for the intended audience. [...] Exploring data is a much more individual matter, using graphics to find information and to generate ideas.Many displays may be drawn. They can be changed at will or discarded and new versions prepared, so generally no one plot is especially important, and they all have a short life span.(Antony Unwin, "Good Graphics?" [in "Handbook of Data Visualization"], 2008)

"So what is the difference between a chart or graph and a visualization? […] a chart or graph is a clean and simple atomic piece; bar charts contain a short story about the data being presented. A visualization, on the other hand, seems to contain much more ʻchart junkʼ, with many sometimes complex graphics or several layers of charts and graphs. A visualization seems to be the super-set for all sorts of data-driven design." (Brian Suda, "A Practical Guide to Designing with Data", 2010)

"The amount of information rendered in a single financial graph is easily equivalent to thousands of words of text or a page-sized table of raw values. A graph illustrates so many characteristics of data in a much smaller space than any other means. Charts also allow us to tell a story in a quick and easy way that words cannot." (Brian Suda, "A Practical Guide to Designing with Data", 2010) 

"All graphics present data and allow a certain degree of exploration of those same data. Some graphics are almost all presentation, so they allow just a limited amount of exploration; hence we can say they are more infographics than visualization, whereas others are mostly about letting readers play with what is being shown, tilting more to the visualization side of our linear scale. But every infographic and every visualization has a presentation and an exploration component: they present, but they also facilitate the analysis of what they show, to different degrees." (Alberto Cairo, "The Functional Art", 2011)

"Graphics, charts, and maps aren’t just tools to be seen, but to be read and scrutinized. The first goal of an infographic is not to be beautiful just for the sake of eye appeal, but, above all, to be understandable first, and beautiful after that; or to be beautiful thanks to its exquisite functionality." (Alberto Cairo, "The Functional Art", 2011)

"In information graphics, what you show can be as important as what you hide." (Alberto Cairo, "The Functional Art", 2011)

"The fact that an information graphic is designed to help us complete certain intellectual tasks is what distinguishes it from fine art." (Alberto Cairo, "The Functional Art", 2011)

"The first and main goal of any graphic and visualization is to be a tool for your eyes and brain to perceive what lies beyond their natural reach." (Alberto Cairo, "The Functional Art", 2011)

"Thinking of graphics as art leads many to put bells and whistles over substance and to confound infographics with mere illustrations." (Alberto Cairo, "The Functional Art", 2011)

"A common mistake is that all visualization must be simple, but this skips a step. You should actually design graphics that lend clarity, and that clarity can make a chart 'simple' to read. However, sometimes a dataset is complex, so the visualization must be complex. The visualization might still work if it provides useful insights that you wouldn’t get from a spreadsheet. […] Sometimes a table is better. Sometimes it’s better to show numbers instead of abstract them with shapes. Sometimes you have a lot of data, and it makes more sense to visualize a simple aggregate than it does to show every data point." (Nathan Yau, "Data Points: Visualization That Means Something", 2013)

"Data is more than numbers, and to visualize it, you must know what it represents. Data represents real life. It’s a snapshot of the world in the same way that a photograph captures a small moment in time. […] The connection between data and what it represents is key to visualization that means something. It is key to thoughtful data analysis. It is key to a deeper understanding of your data. Computers do a bulk of the work to turn numbers into shapes and colors, but you must make the connection between data and real life, so that you or the people you make graphics for extract something of value." (Nathan Yau, "Data Points: Visualization That Means Something", 2013)

"Put everything together - from understanding data, to exploration, clarity, anda dapting to an audience - and you get a general process for how to make data graphics."  (Nathan Yau, "Data Points: Visualization That Means Something", 2013)

"The biggest thing to know is that data visualization is hard. Really difficult to pull off well. It requires harmonization of several skills sets and ways of thinking: conceptual, analytic, statistical, graphic design, programmatic, interface-design, story-telling, journalism - plus a bit of ‘gut feel.’ The end result is often simple and beautiful, but the process itself is usually challenging and messy." (David McCandless, 2013)

"What is good visualization? It is a representation of data that helps you see what you otherwise would have been blind to if you looked only at the naked source. It enables you to see trends, patterns, and outliers that tell you about yourself and what surrounds you. The best visualization evokes that moment of bliss when seeing something for the first time, knowing that what you see has been right in front of you, just slightly hidden. Sometimes it is a simple bar graph, and other times the visualization is complex because the data requires it." (Nathan Yau, "Data Points: Visualization That Means Something", 2013)

"There are myriad questions that we can ask from data today. As such, it’s impossible to write enough reports or design a functioning dashboard that takes into account every conceivable contingency and answers every possible question." (Phil Simon, "The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions", 2014)

"Dashboards are collections of several linked visualizations all in one place. The idea is very popular as part of business intelligence: having current data on activity summarized and presented all inone place. One danger of cramming a lot of disparate information into one place is that you will quickly hit information overload. Interactivity and small multiples are definitely worth considering as ways of simplifying the information a reader has to digest in a dashboard. As with so many other visualizations, layering the detail for different readers is valuable." (Robert Grant, "Data Visualization: Charts, Maps and Interactive Graphics", 2019)

"One very common problem in data visualization is that encoding numerical variables to area is incredibly popular, but readers can’t translate it back very well." (Robert Grant, "Data Visualization: Charts, Maps and Interactive Graphics", 2019)

"If the statistics are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers." (Edward R Tufte)

05 December 2015

Business Intelligence: Indicators (Just the Quotes)

"If we view organizations as adaptive, problem-solving structures, then inferences about effectiveness have to be made, not from static measures of output, but on the basis of the processes through which the organization approaches problems. In other words, no single measurement of organizational efficiency or satisfaction - no single time-slice of organizational performance can provide valid indicators of organizational health." (Warren G Bennis, "General Systems Yearbook", 1962)

"All good KPIs that I have come across, that have made a difference, had the CEO’s constant attention, with daily calls to the relevant staff. [...] A KPI should tell you about what action needs to take place. [...] A KPI is deep enough in the organization that it can be tied down to an individual. [...] A good KPI will affect most of the core CSFs and more than one BSC perspective. [...] A good KPI has a flow on effect." (David Parmenter, "Pareto’s 80/20 Rule for Corporate Accountants", 2007)

"If the KPIs you currently have are not creating change, throw them out because there is a good chance that they may be wrong. They are probably measures that were thrown together without the in-depth research and investigation KPIs truly deserve." (David Parmenter, "Pareto’s 80/20 Rule for Corporate Accountants", 2007)

"Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the vital navigation instruments used by managers to understand whether their business is on a successful voyage or whether it is veering off the prosperous path. The right set of indicators will shine light on performance and highlight areas that need attention. ‘What gets measured gets done’ and ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ are just two of the popular sayings used to highlight the critical importance of metrics. Without the right KPIs managers are sailing blind." (Bernard Marr, "Key Performance Indicators (KPI): The 75 measures every manager needs to know", 2011)

"KRAs and KPIs KRA and KPI are two confusing acronyms for an approach commonly recommended for identifying a person’s major job responsibilities. KRA stands for key result areas; KPI stands for key performance indicators. As academics and consultants explain this jargon, key result areas are the primary components or parts of the job in which a person is expected to deliver results. Key performance indicators represent the measures that will be used to determine how well the individual has performed. In other words, KRAs tell where the individual is supposed to concentrate her attention; KPIs tell how her performance in the specified areas should be measured. Probably few parts of the performance appraisal process create more misunderstanding and bewilderment than do the notion of KRAs and KPIs. The reason is that so much of the material written about KPIs and KRAs is both." (Dick Grote, "How to Be Good at Performance Appraisals: Simple, Effective, Done Right", 2011)

"A statistical index has all the potential pitfalls of any descriptive statistic - plus the distortions introduced by combining multiple indicators into a single number. By definition, any index is going to be sensitive to how it is constructed; it will be affected both by what measures go into the index and by how each of those measures is weighted." (Charles Wheelan, "Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data", 2012)

"Even if you have a solid indicator of what you are trying to measure and manage, the challenges are not over. The good news is that 'managing by statistics' can change the underlying behavior of the person or institution being managed for the better. If you can measure the proportion of defective products coming off an assembly line, and if those defects are a function of things happening at the plant, then some kind of bonus for workers that is tied to a reduction in defective products would presumably change behavior in the right kinds of ways. Each of us responds to incentives (even if it is just praise or a better parking spot). Statistics measure the outcomes that matter; incentives give us a reason to improve those outcomes." (Charles Wheelan, "Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data", 2012)

"Once these different measures of performance are consolidated into a single number, that statistic can be used to make comparisons […] The advantage of any index is that it consolidates lots of complex information into a single number. We can then rank things that otherwise defy simple comparison […] Any index is highly sensitive to the descriptive statistics that are cobbled together to build it, and to the weight given to each of those components. As a result, indices range from useful but imperfect tools to complete charades." (Charles Wheelan, "Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data", 2012)

"Defining an indicator as lagging, coincident, or leading is connected to another vital notion: the business cycle. Indicators are lagging or leading based on where economists believe we are in the business cycle: whether we are heading into a recession or emerging from one." (Zachary Karabell, "The Leading Indicators: A short history of the numbers that rule our world", 2014)

"[…] economics is a profession grounded in the belief that 'the economy' is a machine and a closed system. The more clearly that machine is understood, the more its variables are precisely measured, the more we will be able to manage and steer it as we choose, avoiding the frenetic expansions and sharp contractions. With better indicators would come better policy, and with better policy, states would be less likely to fall into depression and risk collapse." (Zachary Karabell, "The Leading Indicators: A short history of the numbers that rule our world", 2014)

"Our needs going forward will be best served by how we make use of not just this data but all data. We live in an era of Big Data. The world has seen an explosion of information in the past decades, so much so that people and institutions now struggle to keep pace. In fact, one of the reasons for the attachment to the simplicity of our indicators may be an inverse reaction to the sheer and bewildering volume of information most of us are bombarded by on a daily basis. […] The lesson for a world of Big Data is that in an environment with excessive information, people may gravitate toward answers that simplify reality rather than embrace the sheer complexity of it." (Zachary Karabell, "The Leading Indicators: A short history of the numbers that rule our world", 2014)

"Statistics are meaningless unless they exist in some context. One reason why the indicators have become more central and potent over time is that the longer they have been kept, the easier it is to find useful patterns and points of reference." (Zachary Karabell, "The Leading Indicators: A short history of the numbers that rule our world", 2014)

"The indicators - through no particular fault of anyone in particular - have not kept up with the changing world. As these numbers have become more deeply embedded in our culture as guides to how we are doing, we rely on a few big averages that can never be accurate pictures of complicated systems for the very reason that they are too simple and that they are averages. And we have neither the will nor the resources to invent or refine our current indicators enough to integrate all of these changes." (Zachary Karabell, "The Leading Indicators: A short history of the numbers that rule our world", 2014)

"We don’t need new indicators that replace old simple numbers with new simple numbers. We need instead bespoke indicators, tailored to the specific needs and specific questions of governments, businesses, communities, and individuals." (Zachary Karabell, "The Leading Indicators: A short history of the numbers that rule our world", 2014)

"Yet our understanding of the world is still framed by our leading indicators. Those indicators define the economy, and what they say becomes the answer to the simple question 'Are we doing well?'" (Zachary Karabell, "The Leading Indicators: A short history of the numbers that rule our world", 2014)

"Financial measures are a quantification of an activity that has taken place; we have simply placed a value on the activity. Thus, behind every financial measure is an activity. I call financial measures result indicators, a summary measure. It is the activity that you will want more or less of. It is the activity that drives the dollars, pounds, or yen. Thus financial measures cannot possibly be KPIs." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"Key performance indicators (KPIs) are those indicators that focus on the aspects of organizational performance that are the most critical for the current and future success of the organization." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in many organizations are a broken tool. The KPIs are often a random collection prepared with little expertise, signifying nothing. [...] KPIs should be measures that link daily activities to the organization’s critical success factors (CSFs), thus supporting an alignment of effort within the organization in the intended direction." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"Most organizational measures are very much past indicators measuring events of the last month or quarter. These indicators cannot be and never were KPIs." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"We need indicators of overall performance that need only be reviewed on a monthly or bimonthly basis. These measures need to tell the story about whether the organization is being steered in the right direction at the right speed, whether the customers and staff are happy, and whether we are acting in a responsible way by being environmentally friendly. These measures are called key result indicators (KRIs)." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"Indicators represent a way of 'distilling' the larger volume of data collected by organizations. As data become bigger and bigger, due to the greater span of control or growing complexity of operations, data management becomes increasingly difficult. Actions and decisions are greatly influenced by the nature, use and time horizon (e.g., short or long-term) of indicators." (Fiorenzo Franceschini et al, "Designing Performance Measurement Systems: Theory and Practice of Key Performance Indicators", 2019)

"Indicators take on the role of real 'conceptual technologies', capable of driving organizational management in intangible terms, conditioning the 'what' to focus and the 'how'; in other words, they become the beating heart of the management, operational and technological processes." (Fiorenzo Franceschini et al, "Designing Performance Measurement Systems: Theory and Practice of Key Performance Indicators", 2019)

"Monitoring a process requires identifying specific activities, responsibilities and indicators for testing effectiveness and efficiency. Effectiveness means setting the right goals and objectives, making sure that they are properly accomplished (doing the right things); effectiveness is measured comparing the achieved results with target objectives. On the other hand, efficiency means getting the most (output) from the available (input) resources (doing things right): efficiency defines a link between process performance and available resources." (Fiorenzo Franceschini et al, "Designing Performance Measurement Systems: Theory and Practice of Key Performance Indicators", 2019)

04 December 2015

Business Intelligence: Measures/Metrics (Just the Quotes)

"The most important and frequently stressed prescription for avoiding pitfalls in the use of economic statistics, is that one should find out before using any set of published statistics, how they have been collected, analysed and tabulated. This is especially important, as you know, when the statistics arise not from a special statistical enquiry, but are a by-product of law or administration. Only in this way can one be sure of discovering what exactly it is that the figures measure, avoid comparing the non-comparable, take account of changes in definition and coverage, and as a consequence not be misled into mistaken interpretations and analysis of the events which the statistics portray." (Ely Devons, "Essays in Economics", 1961)

"If we view organizations as adaptive, problem-solving structures, then inferences about effectiveness have to be made, not from static measures of output, but on the basis of the processes through which the organization approaches problems. In other words, no single measurement of organizational efficiency or satisfaction - no single time-slice of organizational performance can provide valid indicators of organizational health." (Warren G Bennis, "General Systems Yearbook", 1962)

"[Management by objectives is] a process whereby the superior and the subordinate managers of an enterprise jointly identify its common goals, define each individual's major areas of responsibility in terms of the results expected of him, and use these measures as guides for operating the unit and assessing the contribution of each of its members." (Robert House, "Administrative Science Quarterly", 1971)

"A mature science, with respect to the matter of errors in variables, is not one that measures its variables without error, for this is impossible. It is, rather, a science which properly manages its errors, controlling their magnitudes and correctly calculating their implications for substantive conclusions." (Otis D Duncan, "Introduction to Structural Equation Models", 1975)

"Reengineering is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical contemporary measures of performance such as cost, quality, service and speed." (James A Champy & Michael M Hammer, "Reengineering the Corporation", 1993)

"Industrial managers faced with a problem in production control invariably expect a solution to be devised that is simple and unidimensional. They seek the variable in the situation whose control will achieve control of the whole system: tons of throughput, for example. Business managers seek to do the same thing in controlling a company; they hope they have found the measure of the entire system when they say 'everything can be reduced to monetary terms'." (Stanford Beer, "Decision and Control", 1994)

"A strategy is a set of hypotheses about cause and effect. The measurement system should make the relationships (hypotheses) among objectives (and measures) in the various perspectives explicit so that they can be managed and validated. The chain of cause and effect should pervade all four perspectives of a Balanced Scorecard." (Robert S Kaplan & David P Norton, "The Balanced Scorecard", Harvard Business Review, 1996)

"The Balanced Scorecard has its greatest impact when it is deployed to drive organizational change. [...] The Balanced Scorecard is primarily a mechanism for strategy implementation, not for strategy formulation. It can accommodate either approach for formulating business unit strategy-starting from the customer perspective, or starting from excellent internal-business-process capabilities. For whatever approach that SBU senior executives use to formulate their strategy, the Balanced Scorecard will provide an invaluable mechanism for translating that strategy into specific objectives, measures, and targets, and monitoring the implementation of that strategy during subsequent periods." (Robert S Kaplan & David P Norton, "The Balanced Scorecard", Harvard Business Review, 1996)

"The Balanced Scorecard translates mission and strategy into objectives and measures, organized into four different perspectives: financial, customer, internal business process, and learning and growth. The scorecard provides a framework, a language, to communicate mission and strategy; it uses measurement to inform employees about the drivers of current and future success." (Robert S Kaplan & David P Norton, "The Balanced Scorecard", Harvard Business Review, 1996)

"Since the average is a measure of location, it is common to use averages to compare two data sets. The set with the greater average is thought to ‘exceed’ the other set. While such comparisons may be helpful, they must be used with caution. After all, for any given data set, most of the values will not be equal to the average." (Donald J Wheeler, "Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos" 2nd Ed., 2000)

"First, good statistics are based on more than guessing. [...] Second, good statistics are based on clear, reasonable definitions. Remember, every statistic has to define its subject. Those definitions ought to be clear and made public. [...] Third, good statistics are based on clear, reasonable measures. Again, every statistic involves some sort of measurement; while all measures are imperfect, not all flaws are equally serious. [...] Finally, good statistics are based on good samples." (Joel Best, "Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists", 2001)

"Statistics depend on collecting information. If questions go unasked, or if they are asked in ways that limit responses, or if measures count some cases but exclude others, information goes ungathered, and missing numbers result. Nevertheless, choices regarding which data to collect and how to go about collecting the information are inevitable." (Joel Best, "More Damned Lies and Statistics: How numbers confuse public issues", 2004)

"If the KPIs you currently have are not creating change, throw them out because there is a good chance that they may be wrong. They are probably measures that were thrown together without the in-depth research and investigation KPIs truly deserve." (David Parmenter, "Pareto’s 80/20 Rule for Corporate Accountants", 2007)

"Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the vital navigation instruments used by managers to understand whether their business is on a successful voyage or whether it is veering off the prosperous path. The right set of indicators will shine light on performance and highlight areas that need attention. ‘What gets measured gets done’ and ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ are just two of the popular sayings used to highlight the critical importance of metrics. Without the right KPIs managers are sailing blind." (Bernard Marr, "Key Performance Indicators (KPI): The 75 measures every manager needs to know", 2011)

"A statistical index has all the potential pitfalls of any descriptive statistic - plus the distortions introduced by combining multiple indicators into a single number. By definition, any index is going to be sensitive to how it is constructed; it will be affected both by what measures go into the index and by how each of those measures is weighted." (Charles Wheelan, "Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data", 2012)

"Even if you have a solid indicator of what you are trying to measure and manage, the challenges are not over. The good news is that 'managing by statistics' can change the underlying behavior of the person or institution being managed for the better. If you can measure the proportion of defective products coming off an assembly line, and if those defects are a function of things happening at the plant, then some kind of bonus for workers that is tied to a reduction in defective products would presumably change behavior in the right kinds of ways. Each of us responds to incentives (even if it is just praise or a better parking spot). Statistics measure the outcomes that matter; incentives give us a reason to improve those outcomes." (Charles Wheelan, "Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data", 2012)

"Once these different measures of performance are consolidated into a single number, that statistic can be used to make comparisons […] The advantage of any index is that it consolidates lots of complex information into a single number. We can then rank things that otherwise defy simple comparison […] Any index is highly sensitive to the descriptive statistics that are cobbled together to build it, and to the weight given to each of those components. As a result, indices range from useful but imperfect tools to complete charades." (Charles Wheelan, "Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data", 2012)

"Financial measures are a quantification of an activity that has taken place; we have simply placed a value on the activity. Thus, behind every financial measure is an activity. I call financial measures result indicators, a summary measure. It is the activity that you will want more or less of. It is the activity that drives the dollars, pounds, or yen. Thus financial measures cannot possibly be KPIs." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"'Getting it right the first time' is a rare achievement, and ascertaining the organization’s winning KPIs and associated reports is no exception. The performance measure framework and associated reporting is just like a piece of sculpture: you can be criticized on taste and content, but you can’t be wrong. The senior management team and KPI project team need to ensure that the project has a just-do-it culture, not one in which every step and measure is debated as part of an intellectual exercise." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"In order to get measures to drive performance, a reporting framework needs to be developed at all levels within the organization." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"Most organizational measures are very much past indicators measuring events of the last month or quarter. These indicators cannot be and never were KPIs." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"We need indicators of overall performance that need only be reviewed on a monthly or bimonthly basis. These measures need to tell the story about whether the organization is being steered in the right direction at the right speed, whether the customers and staff are happy, and whether we are acting in a responsible way by being environmentally friendly. These measures are called key result indicators (KRIs)." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"GIGO is a famous saying coined by early computer scientists: garbage in, garbage out. At the time, people would blindly put their trust into anything a computer output indicated because the output had the illusion of precision and certainty. If a statistic is composed of a series of poorly defined measures, guesses, misunderstandings, oversimplifications, mismeasurements, or flawed estimates, the resulting conclusion will be flawed." (Daniel J Levitin, "Weaponized Lies", 2017)

"To be any good, a sample has to be representative. A sample is representative if every person or thing in the group you’re studying has an equally likely chance of being chosen. If not, your sample is biased. […] The job of the statistician is to formulate an inventory of all those things that matter in order to obtain a representative sample. Researchers have to avoid the tendency to capture variables that are easy to identify or collect data on - sometimes the things that matter are not obvious or are difficult to measure." (Daniel J Levitin, "Weaponized Lies", 2017)

"Statistical metrics can show us facts and trends that would be impossible to see in any other way, but often they’re used as a substitute for relevant experience, by managers or politicians without specific expertise or a close-up view." (Tim Harford, "The Data Detective: Ten easy rules to make sense of statistics", 2020)

03 December 2015

Performance Management: Measurement (Just the Quotes)

"It is important to realize that it is not the one measurement, alone, but its relation to the rest of the sequence that is of interest." (William E Deming, "Statistical Adjustment of Data", 1943)

"If we view organizations as adaptive, problem-solving structures, then inferences about effectiveness have to be made, not from static measures of output, but on the basis of the processes through which the organization approaches problems. In other words, no single measurement of organizational efficiency or satisfaction - no single time-slice of organizational performance can provide valid indicators of organizational health." (Warren G Bennis, "General Systems Yearbook", 1962)

"[...] long-range plans are most valuable when they are revised and adjusted and set anew at shorter periods. The five-year plan is reconstructed each year in turn for the following five years. The soundest basis for this change is accurate measurement of the results of the first year's experience with the plan against the target of the plan." (George S Odiorne, "Management by Objectives", 1965)

"[Management by objectives is] a process whereby the superior and the subordinate managers of an enterprise jointly identify its common goals, define each individual's major areas of responsibility in terms of the results expected of him, and use these measures as guides for operating the unit and assessing the contribution of each of its members." (Robert House, "Administrative Science Quarterly", 1971)

"A manager [...] sets objectives [...] organizes [...] motivates and communicates [...] measure[s] [...] develops people. Every manager does these thingsknowingly or not. A manager may do them well, or may do them wretchedly, but always does them." (Peter F Drucker, "People and Performance", 1977)

"The performance of profit center managers is [usually] measured over a moderate time span. The penalty for unsatisfactory absolute performance over the short-term is severe. The proper balance between known performance and potential future benefits is never clear." (Bruce Henderson, "Henderson on Corporate Strategy", 1979)

"Goals should be specific, realistic and measureable." (William G Dyer, "Strategies for Managing Change", 1984)

"Setting goals can be the difference between success and failure. [...] Goals must not be defined so broadly that they cannot be quantified. Having quantifiable goals is an essential starting point if managers are to measure the results of their organization's activities. [...] Too often people mistake being busy for achieving goals." (Philip D Harvey & James D Snyder, Harvard Business Review, 1987)

"How you measure the performance of your managers directly affects the way they act." (John Dearden, Harvard Business Review, 1987)

"Industrial managers faced with a problem in production control invariably expect a solution to be devised that is simple and unidimensional. They seek the variable in the situation whose control will achieve control of the whole system: tons of throughput, for example. Business managers seek to do the same thing in controlling a company; they hope they have found the measure of the entire system when they say 'everything can be reduced to monetary terms'." (Stanford Beer, "Decision and Control", 1994)

"A strategy is a set of hypotheses about cause and effect. The measurement system should make the relationships (hypotheses) among objectives (and measures) in the various perspectives explicit so that they can be managed and validated. The chain of cause and effect should pervade all four perspectives of a Balanced Scorecard." (Robert S Kaplan & David P Norton, "The Balanced Scorecard", Harvard Business Review, 1996)

"Many management reports are not a management tool; they are merely memorandums of information. As a management tool, management reports should encourage timely action in the right direction, by reporting on those activities the Board, management, and staff need to focus on. The old adage 'what gets measured gets done' still holds true." (David Parmenter, "Pareto’s 80/20 Rule for Corporate Accountants", 2007)

"Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the vital navigation instruments used by managers to understand whether their business is on a successful voyage or whether it is veering off the prosperous path. The right set of indicators will shine light on performance and highlight areas that need attention. ‘What gets measured gets done’ and ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ are just two of the popular sayings used to highlight the critical importance of metrics. Without the right KPIs managers are sailing blind." (Bernard Marr, "Key Performance Indicators (KPI): The 75 measures every manager needs to know", 2011)

"KRAs and KPIs KRA and KPI are two confusing acronyms for an approach commonly recommended for identifying a person’s major job responsibilities. KRA stands for key result areas; KPI stands for key performance indicators. As academics and consultants explain this jargon, key result areas are the primary components or parts of the job in which a person is expected to deliver results. Key performance indicators represent the measures that will be used to determine how well the individual has performed. In other words, KRAs tell where the individual is supposed to concentrate her attention; KPIs tell how her performance in the specified areas should be measured. Probably few parts of the performance appraisal process create more misunderstanding and bewilderment than do the notion of KRAs and KPIs. The reason is that so much of the material written about KPIs and KRAs is both." (Dick Grote, "How to Be Good at Performance Appraisals: Simple, Effective, Done Right", 2011)

"'Getting it right the first time' is a rare achievement, and ascertaining the organization’s winning KPIs and associated reports is no exception. The performance measure framework and associated reporting is just like a piece of sculpture: you can be criticized on taste and content, but you can’t be wrong. The senior management team and KPI project team need to ensure that the project has a just-do-it culture, not one in which every step and measure is debated as part of an intellectual exercise." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"Preparation precedes performance. When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates." (Thomas S Monson)

02 December 2015

Business Intelligence: Reporting (Just the Quotes)

"A man's judgment cannot be better than the information on which he has based it. Give him no news, or present him only with distorted and incomplete data, with ignorant, sloppy, or biased reporting, with propaganda and deliberate falsehoods, and you destroy his whole reasoning process and make him somewhat less than a man." (Arthur H Sulzberger, [speech] 1948)

"The secret language of statistics, so appealing in a fact-minded culture, is employed to sensationalize, inflate, confuse, and oversimplify. Statistical methods and statistical terms are necessary in reporting the mass data of social and economic trends, business conditions, 'opinion' polls, the census. But without writers who use the words with honesty and understanding and readers who know what they mean, the result can only be semantic nonsense." (Darell Huff, "How to Lie with Statistics", 1954)

"To be worth much, a report based on sampling must use a representative sample, which is one from which every source of bias has been removed." (Darell Huff, "How to Lie with Statistics", 1954)

"It is probable that one day we shall begin to draw organization charts as a series of linked groups rather than as a hierarchical structure of individual 'reporting' relationships." (Douglas McGregor, "The Human Side of Enterprise", 1960)

"[...] as the planning process proceeds to a specific financial or marketing state, it is usually discovered that a considerable body of 'numbers' is missing, but needed numbers for which there has been no regular system of collection and reporting; numbers that must be collected outside the firm in some cases. This serendipity usually pays off in a much better management information system in the form of reports which will be collected and reviewed routinely." (William H. Franklin Jr., Financial Strategies, 1987)

"Intangible assets [...] surpass physical assets in most business enterprises, both in value and contribution to growth, yet they are routinely expensed in the financial reports and hence remain absent from corporate balance sheets. This asymmetric treatment of capitalizing (considering as assets) physical and financial investment while expensing intangibles leads to biased and deficient reporting of firms’ performance and value." (Baruch Lev, "Intangibles: Management, Measurement, and Reporting", 2000)

"Project planning is the key to effective project management. Detailed and accurate planning of a project produces the managerial information that is the basis of project justification (costs, benefits, strategic impact, etc.) and the defining of the business drivers (scope, objectives) that form the context for the technical solution. In addition, project planning also produces the project schedules and resource allocations that are the framework for the other project management processes: tracking, reporting, and review." (Rob Thomsett, "Radical Project Management", 2002)

"Many management reports are not a management tool; they are merely memorandums of information. As a management tool, management reports should encourage timely action in the right direction, by reporting on those activities the Board, management, and staff need to focus on. The old adage 'what gets measured gets done' still holds true." (David Parmenter, "Pareto’s 80/20 Rule for Corporate Accountants", 2007)

"Reporting to the Board is a classic 'catch-22' situation. Boards complain about getting too much information too late, and management complains that up to 20% of their time is tied up in the Board reporting process. Boards obviously need to ascertain whether management is steering the ship correctly and the state of the crew and customers before they can relax and 'strategize' about future initiatives. The process of assessing the current status of the organization from the most recent Board report is where the principal problem lies. Board reporting needs to occur more efficiently and effectively for both the Board and management." (David Parmenter, "Pareto’s 80/20 Rule for Corporate Accountants", 2007)

"Readability in visualization helps people interpret data and make conclusions about what the data has to say. Embed charts in reports or surround them with text, and you can explain results in detail. However, take a visualization out of a report or disconnect it from text that provides context (as is common when people share graphics online), and the data might lose its meaning; or worse, others might misinterpret what you tried to show." (Nathan Yau, "Data Points: Visualization That Means Something", 2013)

"Another way to secure statistical significance is to use the data to discover a theory. Statistical tests assume that the researcher starts with a theory, collects data to test the theory, and reports the results - whether statistically significant or not. Many people work in the other direction, scrutinizing the data until they find a pattern and then making up a theory that fits the pattern." (Gary Smith, "Standard Deviations", 2014)

"These practices - selective reporting and data pillaging - are known as data grubbing. The discovery of statistical significance by data grubbing shows little other than the researcher’s endurance. We cannot tell whether a data grubbing marathon demonstrates the validity of a useful theory or the perseverance of a determined researcher until independent tests confirm or refute the finding. But more often than not, the tests stop there. After all, you won’t become a star by confirming other people’s research, so why not spend your time discovering new theories? The data-grubbed theory consequently sits out there, untested and unchallenged." (Gary Smith, "Standard Deviations", 2014)

"'Getting it right the first time' is a rare achievement, and ascertaining the organization’s winning KPIs and associated reports is no exception. The performance measure framework and associated reporting is just like a piece of sculpture: you can be criticized on taste and content, but you can’t be wrong. The senior management team and KPI project team need to ensure that the project has a just-do-it culture, not one in which every step and measure is debated as part of an intellectual exercise." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"In order to get measures to drive performance, a reporting framework needs to be developed at all levels within the organization." (David Parmenter, "Key Performance Indicators: Developing, implementing, and using winning KPIs" 3rd Ed., 2015)

"Statistics, because they are numbers, appear to us to be cold, hard facts. It seems that they represent facts given to us by nature and it’s just a matter of finding them. But it’s important to remember that people gather statistics. People choose what to count, how to go about counting, which of the resulting numbers they will share with us, and which words they will use to describe and interpret those numbers. Statistics are not facts. They are interpretations. And your interpretation may be just as good as, or better than, that of the person reporting them to you." (Daniel J Levitin, "Weaponized Lies", 2017)

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