Archive for the ‘general’ Category

metrics

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

The average number of traffic fines, random breath tests (RBTs), street checks and calls for service per officer will be assessed on the scorecards along with budgets and overtime.

Sounds dangerously like quotas to me.

Having had a small amount of experience running an operational team, I’ve had first hand experience with what happens when individuals are measured by poorly thought out metrics: in the case of a network operations team, one of the worst measures that can be used to measure performance is number of trouble tickets closed.

I’d suggest that measuring police on the number of traffic fines, RBTs, street checks, and calls-for-service will not result in an improvement in the crime rate.

the folly of prediction

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

From June, 1998:

By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.

But then in May, 2008, News Limited were confidently predicting:

The commercial banks are expected to pass on the rises, which could push the average standard variable home loan rate of 9.50 per cent up to 10 per cent or more.

Of course with the benefit of hindsight we saw record lows within the next eight months, not record highs.

And this is why — apropos of the new year — I pay no attention to predictions.

audio quality

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

192kHz digital music files offer no benefits. They’re not quite neutral either; practical fidelity is slightly worse. The ultrasonics are a liability during playback.

Such realities are ignored by many, as we’re routinely taught these days that More Is Better.

so, what was your last salary?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

If you were earning $52,000, your new job offer might come in at $53,500. If you earned two hundred and forty-five thousand dollars a year, expect a job offer around two-sixty. Notwithstanding the exacting pay grades, salary charts and ranges laid out by bureaucrats the world over, the strongest predictor of a new hire’s starting salary is whatever he or she was earning at the last job.

That’s discouraging – and pathetic! If an organization doesn’t know how to value your talents other than by looking at what somebody else paid you in a completely different situation, they don’t know squat about the talent market. How are you ever going to increase your earnings if every time you change jobs, you get a tiny raise over what they paid you at the last place?

Employers treat salaries as confidential information… except, often, when it comes to new hires. The above contains sound advice: provide them information on what you would require of them to take the job, not what you’re getting paid today (though if you’re lucky, the figures might match up in some way).

At the other end of the employment life cycle, we have the exit interview: many employers expect a departing employee to subject themselves to a one-hour meeting with a member of the HR team where questions, mostly revolving around the question, “so, why are you leaving?” are asked.

My advice here matches that from OneFTE: say enough to not burn bridges, but at the same time not so much that bridges are burned. It’s a fine line.

health

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

A new blueprint for Queensland Health:

HEALTH Minister Lawrence Springborg has delivered a health blueprint for the state at a luncheon in Brisbane, urging Queenslanders to “get on the train or get under it.”

Bad choice of wording there, Mr Springborg. What happened to the inclusive and humble government promised us at the election?

A key feature of the new plan for the state’s healthcare will be the delivery of a larger range of health services through public, private and not-for-profit health providers and partnerships.

Because public-private partnerships work so well: just ask the investors in River City Motorways.

Having said that, we can expect more of this over time, as the population ages and a smaller pool of taxpayer dollars have to spread yet further.

on “professional” sport

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

As long as sports stars are deified for nothing more than their ability to play their sport, we can and will expect them to let us down.

The fact that this (mis)behaviour is now clearly institutional should surprise nobody; after all, some sportspeople can individually behave in abhorrent ways, and be widely forgiven within days. Why *wouldn’t* the clubs try to capitalise on this? The upside is pretty clear — more wins equals more sponsorship dollars equals more income, and the down side — being “caught” and punished in the media, and by fans and sponsors — very temporary.

Sports “stars” are not perfect; they’re human, and arguably have a pretty limited set of skills beyond their chosen sport. Common sense — and other life skills — in particular seem to be lacking from some of them.

If you’re truly outraged by their behaviour, stop watching professional sport, starting with the most badly behaved clubs and codes. Not temporarily: permanently.
Stop giving professional sports’ sponsors your business, and ensure they understand the link.
Stop paying attention to the news media, who for the most part *love* the bad behaviour. Use your time more constructively instead.

If you’re not outraged, stop pretending that you are, and go back to business-as-usual.

sitting

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Nilofer Merchant makes some excellent suggestions, to take the stand-up meeting that little bit further:

As we work, we sit more than we do anything else. We’re averaging 9.3 hours a day, compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping. Sitting is so prevalent and so pervasive that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. And, everyone else is doing it also, so it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not OK. In that way, I’ve come to see that sitting is the smoking of our generation.

After one hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat declines by as much as 90 per cent.