Automatic Crap

I have clients and colleagues frequently ask about various pc- and web-based performance management systems. I won’t name them here, but you probably know of many of them (the systems, that is).

They claim to streamline and better process performance management reviews, scheduling, and responsibilities. They even go as far as to provide some assistance to tongue-tied managers unable to bring adequate wording to bear in the their review — another subject altogether, I won’t get on my soapbox just yet — to further take the effort out of performance management.

To this, I have two comments:

First, performance management is necessarily difficult. That doesn’t mean it must be complex, but it does — it MUST — take some effort to compare several months’ of performance to a set of (hopefully) predetermined measurements and measures.

Realize that the goal here is not a form… it’s managing/improving performance. Oh, yeah… we sometimes get so lost in the process, that we forget the real purpose. To manage and improve performance.

Let’s don’t attempt to simplify so much that we lose sight of that objective.

Secondly, most organizations seeking this level of automation are not doing so merely to become efficient; their process isn’t working today, so they are hoping that someone has a magic bullet to better accomplish the process..

In other words, the process is broken, yet we want to automate it. Speak to some of your IS friends if you want to discuss the folly behind that.

If we take crap, and automate it, we don’t get a better process; we simply get automatic crap. How is that helpful??

Fix the process first — keeping the objective squarely in your sights. Then — and only then — worry about efficiencies and automation.

Cheers all,


Kevin Berchelmann

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