How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of "Intangibles" in Business

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Praise for How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business

"I love this book. Douglas Hubbard helps us create a path to know the answer to almost any question in business, in science, or in life . . . Hubbard helps us by showing us that when we seek metrics to solve problems, we are really trying to know something better than we know it now. How to Measure Anything provides just the tools most of us need to measure anything better, to gain that insight, to make progress, and to succeed."
-Peter Tippett, PhD, M.D.
Chief Technology Officer at CyberTrust
and inventor of the first antivirus software

"Doug Hubbard has provided an easy-to-read, demystifying explanation of how managers can inform themselves to make less risky, more profitable business decisions. We encourage our clients to try his powerful, practical techniques."
-Peter Schay
EVP and COO of
The Advisory Council

"As a reader you soon realize that actually everything can be measured while learning how to measure only what matters. This book cuts through conventional clich¨¦s and business rhetoric and offers practical steps to using measurements as a tool for better decision making. Hubbard bridges the gaps to make college statistics relevant and valuable for business decisions."
-Ray Gilbert
EVP Lucent

"This book is remarkable in its range of measurement applications and its clarity of style. A must-read for every professional who has ever exclaimed, 'Sure, that concept is important, but can we measure it?'"
-Dr. Jack Stenner
Cofounder and CEO of MetraMetrics, Inc.

Customer Reviews:

  • A new perspective on intangibles
    Hubbard's book refutes the commonly held belief that intangibles are immeasurable. In the book, he provides a clear definition of measurement and presents a simple and easy to follow method of measuring so-called intangibles. When measurement is viewed as a reduction of uncertainty, as Hubbard suggests, we are freed from finding absolute answers. Hubbard also offers several examples of how measuring intangibles has led real-life businesses to make better decisions....more info
  • Clear explanation making the complex simple.
    Douglas Hubbard covers a broad landscape but does exactly what the title claims; it provides a guide to measuring anything. Hubbard builds from simple concepts to show the practical yet intuitively simple application of some rather advanced statistical techniques. The author's skill is in communicating complex ideas in an easy to follow and motivational flow that builds in a series of seemingly obvious steps.

    The book is both philosophical and practical. If one read no more than the first three chapters one's view of the world would be changed forever. Yet the later chapters cover many extremely simple illustrations of some complex statistical concepts. I particularly enjoyed his discussion of the value of information (chapter 7), Bayesian Statistics (chapter 10), and some advanced concepts such as measuring value via observable trade-offs and using prediction markets. No one reading just a portion of this book would walk away without a new insight.

    This book would be extremely useful to students in an MBA program or to those pursuing an advanced degree in one of the social sciences. It would provide a valued motivational reference to anyone studying Computer Science, Economics, or Applied Statistics. Anyone teaching or mentoring students in these disciplines might want to review this book for inclusion in their curriculum.

    The book also has considerable potential at helping someone working the area of Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence. For example, Steve and Nancy Williams have written a great book titled "The Profit Impact of Business Intelligence". In it they explain the case for managing BI projects as a portfolio of risky investments. They talk of the need to measure the business value of a BI project and to coordinate changes in information flow, workflow, and decision structure so as to maximize that value. Hubbard's book offers ways that business value, cultural change, and process impact can be measured, and therefore managed. The Williams' book talks of the need for Decision Engineering. Hubbard's book gives one the understanding of what a Decision Engineering group would do on a routine basis. The two books together would be of high benefit to any manager trying to develop a "value management" culture.
    The Profit Impact of Business Intelligence

    The field of Human Capital Management and Workforce Analytics is receiving a lot of attention today. Two books that are particularly helpful in understanding how analytics can help Human Resource managers better support (and in fact drive) organizational performance are "The HR Scorecard" (by Brian E. Becker, Mark A. Huselid, and Dave Ulrich) and "The Workforce Scorecard" (by Mark A. Huselid, Brian E. Becker, and Richard W. Beatty). These books provide a comprehensive list of elements that could be included in a workforce analytics program from recruiting and retention to compensation and talent development. Hubbard's book helps the HR executive identify the critical metrics, what metrics add value and what metrics do not in their environment, and how to prioritize one measurement need over another. Again, Hubbard's book in combination with others will be a great compliment for the leader interested in building a fact-based value oriented decision culture.
    The Workforce Scorecard: Managing Human Capital To Execute Strategy
    The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy, and Performance
    ...more info
  • Easy to read, practical
    This book is a real gem.
    While the layout and graphical design are a little on the "homely" side, Hubbard's text and examples are very easy to read and understand. Plenty of key points emphasized in sidebars and very practical, authentic examples that really make the subject live and breath.
    Highly recommended....more info
  • Superb
    A fantastic introduction into probabalistic way of thinking about what you know or think, and how you can develop this into usefull objective measurement frameworks for those things your previously thought were "intangible" or "unknowable"...more info
  • How certain were you about your last decision?
    Frist let me say that I've worked with the author to develop effective solutions for the federal government over the last several years, but I never felt 100% confident in my own ability to understand and explain the measurement process to the customer without having the author within arm's reach. Finally, the secrets of information valuation are not only revealed but explained so that analysts, consultants, and managers can advance the certainty of their future decisions without having to first become an actuarial scientist.

    If you develop or evaluate or decide business cases and proposals and you're ready to rip the lips off the next person who says "faster ROI" without being able to back it up, then you need to read this book yesterday. Doug explains his techique step by step and provides plenty of examples and case studies to not only support the theory, but to also pass it on to the reader. Make sure you visit the companion website for the book and download all of the materials, spreadsheets, and presentations he makes available. Better decisions are about removing uncertainty and reading this book is the first step in that process. ...more info
  • Required reading for business decision makers
    I made this book a required read for my MBA Business Research Method class. It addresses some of the key falacies in thinking about the research for decision making. I have a more detailed review on [...]....more info
  • Great advance!
    This book describes one strategic issue: it's possible to measure anything. Today this is one of most important points for the culture of execution and double this importance wnhe focused on intnagibles....more info
  • How to use measurements as a tool for better decision making
    Measuring seeming intangibles can be a very tricky task, and Hubbard does a masterful job walking the reader through the process of moving from a position of limiting their applicability of measurement to a position where they can essentially quantify anything. This text is very well written and only basic math skills are needed to apply the content. In a few isolated instances, the author walks the reader through some calculations that require knowledge of statistics beyond basic math, and even limits his discussion to Microsoft Excel functions in at least one case where he feels the math might be a little too inaccessible to the reader, although even in this scenario the math is by no means very advanced. In this reviewer's opinion, this feat is rather incredible, because the resources typically available on this subject matter are typically saturated with statistics, and the method of problem solving the author presents should make most readers very comfortable regardless of background. While this book can help measure tangibles, the intent here is to guide the reader to a point where they can measure what are typically viewed as intangibles, such as risk, quality, performance, value, demand, etc. While the background of the author is technology, and much of the discussion can be applied to nonfunctional architectural qualities, the book demonstrates that there really is no limit to measuring traditional intangibles. As Hubbard indicates in his first chapter, "anything can be measured. If a thing can be observed in any way at all, it lends itself to some type of measurement method. No matter how 'fuzzy' the measurement is, it's still a measurement if it told you more than you knew before. And those very things most likely to be seen as immeasurable are, virtually always, solved by relatively simple measurement methods". The author is careful to point out that this work is not intended to cover every single subject matter, but "focus on measurements that are relevant - even critical - to major organizational decisions and yet don't seem to lend themselves to an obvious and practical measurement solution. The book addresses some common misconceptions about intangibles, describes a 'universal approach' to show how to go about measuring an 'intangible', and backs it up with some interesting methods for particular problems". The author explains that the key obstacle to overcome in this space is the very definition of measurement itself: "a set of observations that reduce uncertainty where the result is expressed as a quantity". Measurement does not need to be exact. In fact, it is often the case in many fields of work that exact measurement is not even possible, and in other cases the cost is too high or time is too short to arrive at exact measurements. Probability calibration is one of the tools presented in the early chapters of this book to prepare the reader for what follows. Essentially, the goal of this tool is to help the reader assign levels of confidence to numeric estimates of quantifiable items in order to help move to estimates of the seemingly immeasurable. Many practical examples are discussed throughout the book. Diagrams and sidebars are extremely well placed. Very well recommended....more info
  • If you care about the value of information... must read this book. Beyond simply breaking down the obstacles to quantification, this book helps you understand the value of the information that quantification provides. If you are responsible for making business decisions or recommendations, you have to read this book....more info
  • How To Measure Anything
    What is the value of $45? You can purchase about 11 gallons of gasoline or How To Measure Anything. The latter provides you with the means to move to another level in business or organizational management. The former may get you to work and back for a week.
    I can't say enough good things about Douglas Hubbard's book. It provides all the benefits of statistical prowess without getting bogged down in the math. It is clearly and engagingly written. (I had difficulty putting it down.) It keeps you wanting to learn more. And it is exceedingly practical. The discussion of how to calibrate your ability to estimate ranges is worth the price of the book alone.
    How To Measure Anything is one of a kind. I know of nothing that comes close to explaining this material this well. As an added bonus, Hubbard has given readers a web site with downloadable templates that enhance the book's value even further.
    If your job or personal life involves making judgments in the face of uncertainty and you would like to know how to reduce the uncertainty without spending a fortune, buy and read this book. You will not regret it. ...more info
  • More specifically, how to measure anything that is especially important, including intangibles

    "I wrote this book to correct a myth that permeates many organizations today: that certain things can't be measured." Douglas Hubbard goes on to note that he has made a career out of measuring the sorts of things many thought were immeasurable. Intangibles, for example, "that appear to be completely intractable to be a way that is economically justified." Hubbard notes that there are several common misconceptions about intangibles. He offers what he characterizes as a "universal approach," Applied Information Economics (AIE), to measure an intangible, providing with that explanation some "interesting methods for particular problems."

    He duly recognizes that only what is most important (tangible or intangible) should be measured; also, that what is currently most important may not retain that importance; and, that information needs change, sometimes significantly and unexpectedly. That said, basic questions must constantly be asked and answered:

    1. What are our most important information needs? Why?

    2. How best to obtain and then verify that information?

    3. What will we then do with that information?

    4. How can we then measure (accurately, consistently, and sufficiently) the impact of actions taken based on that information?

    To his credit, Hubbard makes every effort to provide information, explanations, and recommendations that are (in his words) as "simple as can be"; nonetheless, some of the material may prove daunting, at least it did to me. I appreciate the inclusion of dozens of real-world examples that illustrate key points. Hubbard also makes effective use of other reader-friendly devices, such as checklists inserted throughout his narrative. In his own words, here is how he organizes his material:

    In Section One (Chapters 1-3), he "makes the case that everything is measurable and offers some examples that should inspire readers to attempt measurements even when it seems impossible."

    In Section Two (Chapters 4-7), he "begins to get into more specific substance about how to measure things - specifically uncertainty, risk - and the value of information."

    In Section Three (Chapters 8-10), he "deals with how to reduce uncertainty by various methods of observation including random sampling and controlled experiments."

    And then in Section Four (Chapters 11-14), Hubbard offers "an eclectic collection of interesting measurement solutions and case examples."

    Many readers will appreciate having the Appendix (Pages 269-278) which provides both the questions and answers for various calibration tests, including "Calibration Survey for Binary: B" that also includes percentages to indicate degree of confidence that the respondent is correct.

    Earlier, I suggested that this is by no means an "easy read." It isn't. Nor will this book respond directly to every executive's immediate needs and objectives. However, it will generously reward those who need assistance with finding and measuring the intangibles in business if they absorb and digest the material with appropriate care. To those about to begin reading this book, Douglas Hubbard offers this recommendation: Write down those things they believe are immeasurable or, at least they are not sure to how to measure. "After reading this book, my goal is that you are able to identify methods for measuring each and every one of them." I presume to add another recommendation: Highlights key passages and titles of checklists. By doing so, you will be able to facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key concepts and insights later....more info
  • Reducing the Uncertainty in Intangible Business Value . . .
    Hubbard explains how to "find the value of intangibles in business." An excellent book and one which should be on every manager's book shelf.

    Hubbard has made what can be a deadly dull subject interesting and accessible. I found several examples for measuring exactly what I needed and always felt I could not measure. This book is a must read for leaders including the Master Six Sigma Blackbelt on your staff. Finding the value of intangibles in business has always been a challenge. How to Measure Anything is full of practical ideas for getting to a measurement.

    Measurement: reducing the uncertainty. As long as we are not willing to accept a best guess, or educated estimate, or range of possibilities for a difficult to measure item we will not move forward. Our decisions will be flawed. Hubbard put forth these four assumptions which I found to be most useful when thinking about measuring:

    1. Your problem is not as unique as you think
    2. You have more data than you think
    3. You need less data than you think
    4. There is a useful measurement that is much simpler than you think.

    Numbers can be used to confuse people; especially the gullible ones lacking basic skills with numbers. Therefore we, as leaders, must be committed to making sure the whole organization is data driven and understands the way we can reduce uncertainty through the straight forward techniques Hubbard explains. As he states, "The fact is that the preference for ignorance over even marginal reductions in ignorance is never the moral high ground."

    Hubbard gives us a very useful check list for a Universal Approach to Measurement:
    1. What are you trying to measure? What is the real meaning of the alleged "intangible?"
    2. Why do you care -- what's the decision and where is the "threshold?"
    3. How much do you know now -- what ranges or probabilities represent your uncertainty about this?
    4. What is the value of the information? What are the consequences of being wrong and the chance of being wrong, and what, if any, measurement effort would be justified?
    5. Within a cost justified by the information value, which observations would confirm or eliminate different possibilities? For each possible scenario, what is the simplest thing we should see if that scenario were true?
    6. How do you conduct the measurement that accounts for various types of avoidable errors (again, where the cost is less than the value of the information)?

    I especially enjoy the approach Hubbard takes to quantify the cost of making measurement based on the value of the information obtained. Too often, I have seen projects founder on either inaction to get data which would be of great value and little cost or, perhaps, the exact opposite -- spending great amounts of time and money to obtain relatively useless information.

    To emphasize: After reading Hubbard's excellent book on `How to Measure Anything,' I was able to immediately solve several measurement challenges for my CEO and Business Owner colleagues. This book makes accessible measurement techniques that have eluded many of my colleagues. It should be on every manager's desk. - Dave Kinnear, CEO dbkAssociates, Inc. and Vistage Chair....more info
  • Very interesting read
    As a person who has to measure a lot of data, I often feel overwhelmed. Douglas Hubbard puts measurement into perspective, and breaks it down into sane manageable chunks. I enjoyed this book and recommend it highly....more info
  • For all manner of "How do I measure this?" challenges
    Some of the best reflections I took from Doug's book, How to Measure Anything, are these:

    1) Finding measures is not the first step - defining the problem you want to solve (or the goal or outcome you want to achieve) has to come first or you'll end up trying to measure the wrong thing, or make the measurement more complex than it ought to be.

    2) The importance of precision is over-rated in most measurement problems. Estimation is incredibly valuable - and often the most cost-effective way to measure something. As Doug says, it's about reducing uncertainty. Removing uncertainty is a waste of time that should be spent making progress on your problem, goal or outcome.

    3) Many measurement challenges look a lot harder than they are, and when you bring statistical language into the conversation, it can be very off-putting to many. Doug makes it easier through his great examples and practical explanations.

    I could write a lot more about Doug's book, but your time is better spent reading the book, and not all my musings! Doug is the real deal - I had the privelege of interviewing him for my readers some time ago, and he was passionate, articulate and very generous in sharing his tips for how to measure anything! Several readers who subsequently bought Doug's book took the time to let me know how much they loved it....more info
  • A whole new approach
    "Hubbard's book will be considered one of the seminal books in measuring those things that seem to resist measurement in business. His examples cover the value of security, risk, the value of information, and market forecasts. He even discusses methods that are used to assess how much should be spent by government to reduce risks of fatalities or how quality can be measured.

    Fascinating examples of simple measurements are used to solve critical problems are used to keep the reader engaged throughout the book. The economist who explained how he people reveal the value they put on happiness or how statisticians in World War II estimated the German tank production levels are among my favorite examples.

    Perhaps the most immediately useful part of the book for me was where Hubbard explains how our ability to make subjective assessments of quantities and probabilities can measurably improved through training. He then shows how this skill at assessing your own uncertainty becomes the keystone for computing the value of further measurements and selecting measurement methods. It all comes together in the last chapter where he describes a "universal approach" to measurement.

    This book should not only be on the desk of every manager, it should be the center piece of any serious measurement initiative in business."

    ...more info
  • I cannot keep a copy on my shelf!
    I purchased two copies previously and I keep loaning mine out. If you like this book you will find his new book even better! I highly recommend buying both....more info
  • Measuring Intangibles...........................
    This book addresses the measurement problem that managers face when it comes to placing a value on the important but vague factors that affect the decision-making process. I like the way he clearly defines the steps that the manager should take. I also like the conversational style of the book.
    In general, he shows that measuring associated costs and other phenomena that affect the decision-making process is not that big a deal once you are able to define the aspects that you feel affect your processes and also determine the context in which these aspects are important to you, as a manager.
    However,as an accountant, I find that it does not address the issue of intangibles from my perspective. How does the accountant measure physical intangibles that are not accounted for on the books, but that clearly affect the market value of the company? Intangibles like R&D, intellectual property and internally developed software should be accounted for but are not for lack of a dependable method of measurement. The book doesnt provide an answer to this question, so if you are an accountant looking to measure an intangible for purposes of reporting them, this book will not provide an answer, but if you are a manager or just someone who likes placing a value on the happenings that you find interesting, go for it. You will not be disappointed.
    ...more info
  • And the book measure is ... EXCELLENT!
    The book is excellent! The author brilliantly shows how to put in practice several statistics techniques using simple math accessible to everyone. The shown techniques are applicable to many day-by-day situations and provide an invaluable tool to give rational support to common business decisions....more info
  • How to measure anything
    Conceptually a good book, It would be better with more examples in the business world such as measuring value of better communincations or value of intellectual property. These are vexing issues today. However, the though process to getting to an answer in this book was worth the price....more info
  • Upon Second Reading
    I first read Hubbard's book in pre-publication form when asked by the author to write a recommendation for the book. Two weeks ago I had occasion to read it again as I was planning an introductory lecture on measurement for health care measurement experts. I routinely recommend the book along with Denny Borsboom's Measuring the Mind. Upon my rereading I felt compelled to write this brief note.
    This book "works" on several levels. First, it is very well written and comparably well edited. Second, it covers a wide range of material without dabbling. Every key point is illustrated with a memorable application or example. And, finally, the book treats complex material like the Rasch model and Baysean inference elegantly.
    My favorite parts of the book are Chapter 3, The Illusion of Intangibles: Why Immeasurables Aren't, which could have been an alternate title for the book. Chapter 14, New Measurement Instruments for Management, especially the section on the Internet as an unobtrusive measurement device and Chapter 10, Bayes: Adding to what you Know Now. Of course, we all are Bayseans!
    Graduate students in almost any field that deals with numbers, and business executives across the spectrum will benefit from reading this book. Like USA Today the book measures at a comfortable 1240 Lexiles.

    A. Jackson Stenner
    CEO, MetaMetrics, Inc
    Durham, NC

    ...more info
  • Fast becoming an indispensable part of my library
    This is one of those books that when you get it you wonder why it hadn't been written before or how you got along without it. The book provides a simple process for generating measurements about things that are "un-measurable". Section II (chapters 4 - 7) outline the process along with a set of tools that can be quickly created in Excel. The other sections provide different measurement methods as well as some case studies.

    The book is applicable to a wide range of daily real life problems such as measuring the validity of a software development effort and the schedule.

    Overall the book is well written and well organized. It's a very easy read and the math in the book is understandable. Its now a part of my library and one of those books that is always open. ...more info
  • Quantifying Soft Knowledge
    Perhaps the most frequent question from decision analysis team members is, "How do we get the inputs?" In most evaluations, there are several key variables about which we know little. Consider oil price, for example. We have abundant historical data, yet forecasting future prices is a daunting challenge.

    Doug Hubbard has written an entire book about capturing quantitative judgments. His approach differs from the usual decision analysis process. In a conventional analysis, we assume that that a subject matter expert (SME) can be identified for each key variable. Then, a skilled interviewer carefully elicits the SME's judgment through an interview process.

    Hubbard takes a different approach. People familiar with the type project are assembled and given calibration training. Becoming calibrated might take perhaps a half-day of practice exercises and feedback. Basically, being "calibrated" means that one can consistently provide judgments of 90% confidence intervals that avoid the "overconfidence" bias. The book provides several example quizzes for the reader to self-assess.
    Even though I was well-aware of the overconfidence bias, I still performed poorly on the self-assessment tests (history was never my strong subject!). Of course, the questions for a technical group would be crafted from topics within the area of interest. Whether (a) expert in the quiz subject matter or not and (b) being told in advance that people tend to be overconfident about the quality of their knowledge doesn't seem to affect the overconfident bias. Practice and feedback are the antidotes.

    Hubbard's training and consulting examples are engaging. It has been years since I've devoured a technical book so thoroughly. While the reader will pick-and-choose methods of most interest, the "measurement" topic is well-covered.

    The book contains many shortcuts and heuristics for rapid problem-solving. Many people never attempt to quantify intangibles. Yet, most people with some modest training are able to provide credible judgments in quantitative form.

    A sampling of topics includes:
    * Modeling and Monte Carlo simulation
    * Designing experiments for measurement
    * Decomposition
    * Heuristics for obtaining simple statistics
    * Value of perfect information, for screening which variables are worthwhile measuring
    * Bayes' rule (because we almost always have some prior information about the subject of the observation)
    * Cognitive biases

    How to Measure Anything is well-written and carefully edited. The companion Web site, [..], offers additional calibration questions, several calculation spreadsheets, and additional information.

    Persons reading this book will be the better for it.
    ...more info
  • The most practical measurement book I ever read
    This is it. I'm a Chief Operating Officer (COO) for a manufacturing company and this is the one measurement book I've been looking for. Time and time again, I read "highly recommended" books that turn out to be fluff. This book finally has answers.

    I needed to come up with a measure for quality. There it was. I needed to figure out how many defects might be going undetected by inspectors. There it was. I need to measure risk. There is was in spades.

    Hands down, the best book on measurement I've ever heard of. I can get rid of the rest of the junk on my bookshelves on this topic. No COO should go without it....more info
  • Simplifying the Perceived Complex
    Mr. Hubbard has hit the nail on the head! As a strategic consultant, the single most frustrating aspect of optimizing and managing corporate strategy is the identification and creation of relevant measures and metrics. Mr. Hubbard has conveyed the approach in a simple and understandable manner allowing us to communicate more effectively with our clients and show measureable progress across the enterprise.

    We have found this approach particularly effective for applying focused metrics as part of our approach for selection among multiple investment alternatives. Because of the soundness of method and specification of focused metrics, we are able to more accurately communicate the quantified risks and rewards of each alternative. These metrics can then be carried over into execution and used as indicators focusing program managers on only the most volitile risk variables.

    Thank you Doug!...more info
  • Great for IT People Trying to Quantify The Value of What They Do
    One of the primary challenges with managing and governing IT effectively is that many of the questions that we need to answer are difficult to measure. What is the expected value of a new software project? What is the chance of success? How long will the project take? What architectural strategy is best? How effective is a development technique? What is our level of quality? How good is our production data? And so on.

    Although these questions are hard to answer, luckily this book provides some proven advice for easily taking measures that enable us to improve our decision making. To understand the value, and ease of, taking presumably difficult measures, in Chapter 2 Hubbard works through examples from past of great thinkers who didn't give up in the face of the "impossible". For example, around 200 BC Eratothenes estimated the circumference of the Earth by observing the lengths of shadows, Enrico Fermi estimated the power of the first atomic bomb by observing the distance that it blew confetti, and at the age of nine Emily Rosa (who became the youngest person to publish in a scientific journal at the age of 11) measured the ability (or more accurately lack there of) of people claiming to have the ability of therapeutic touch. Chapter 3 goes on to discuss the illusion of intangibles, motivating you to abandon the self-defeating belief that some things are just too hard to measure. Chapter 4 clarifies the measurement problem, focusing on uncertainty and risk, putting you in a better position to effectively reduce business risk through relatively simple measurement.

    Chapters 5 through 7 describe more of the fundamentals behind measurements and the value of improved information, and chapters 8 through 10 describe strategies for doing measurements. Being a firm believer in strategies which reflect human behavior, I was particularly interested in chapters 11 through 14 which cover the human issues around measurement, making a hard science soft again.

    If you're tasked with improving your internal metrics program, improving your governance strategy, or simply want to learn about strategies to find out what the heck is actually going on within your organization or industry then this book will prove to be a good idea. Hubbard uses straightforward, easy to understand examples throughout the book, thereby simplifying many complex ideas for the reader. ...more info
  • Essential reading for making better decisions
    Sometimes you run across a business book that isn't just a good read, but one that actually changes how you look at things in your own professional life. `How to Measure Anything' is one such book.

    The book is a superb mix of theory and practical advice - in fact for most business and IT execs, the first 100 pages alone are enough to make you rethink how you approach investment decisions, consider the topic of intangibles, define measurement problems, and think about the value of information. All of it is done in a straight-forward, compelling, easy-to-read manner.

    As an IT management consultant, I've done good work for clients in strengthening the way they make IT investment decisions. Having said that, I'd wish I had this material available for several of my former clients. It would have strengthened the case I've intuitively been making for years, and would have given stronger quantitative grounding to the final product.

    The potential audience for this book is wide, but I particularly recommend it to all C-level execs and IT management who have anything to do with technology investments....more info
  • Making Sense of Measurement
    In the often over-saturated field of metrics literature, plain and simple this book makes sense of measurement. Starting with a common grounding definition of measurement for the decision maker "a set of observations that reduce uncertainty where the result is expressed as a quantity" - Hubbard unveils many simple truths about measurement that are helpful in every day practice for practitioners at all levels.

    Some of the simple nuggets of wisdom to extract from this book entail the:

    CLARIFICATION CHAIN: (i) if it matters at all, it is detectable and observable; (ii) if it is detectable, it can be detected as an amount (or range of possible amounts); and (iii) if it can be detected as a range of possible amounts, it can be measured

    FOUR USEFUL MEASUREMENT ASSUMPTIONS: (i) your problem is not as unique as you think; (ii) you have more data than you think; (iii) you need less data than you think; (iv) there is a useful measurement that is much simpler than you think

    QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE MEASUREMENT: (i) what is the decision this is supposed to support; (ii) what really is the thing being measured; (iii) what does this thing matter to the decision being asked; (iv) what do you know about it now; and (v) what is the value to measuring it further?

    And many other heuristics that one can consult on an everyday basis or use as a cornerstone for a holistic measurement analysis.

    Last, for any position relying expert opinion - Hubbard's depiction of how optimism bias can be calculated is particularly insightful and in fact a must read.

    In general, this book is a great read for not just measurement people, but for management people and the everyday practitioner. Enjoy!
    ...more info


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