Engineering design performance management – from alchemy to science through ISTa
ISSN der Zeitschrift
Information systems technology and its applications, ISTA' 2005
Regular Research Papers
Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.
The drive for performance is omnipresent in modern society. We believe this to be true, although we only have a vague idea of what “performance” really means. The demand for management is omnipresent in modern society. We accept this to be true, although management theory is a science barely out of its infancy (Who wishes to be supervised by an infant?). Performance management is considered to be the need for the hour in modern society. We are told this is true, although we feel that we are trying to cope with something that we have very little comprehension of. Engineering is the omnipresent backbone of modern society. We experience this to be true, although we acknowledge that design is least as much an art as it is a science, a world where uncertainty rules. The impact of Information Society Technology (IST) is omnipresent in modern society. We understand this to be true; although we know that there is no point in automating something we don't understand. Somewhat ironically, one could conclude that Engineering Design Performance Management (EDPM) is about the challenge to handle the uncertain and appraise the unknown. Not to forget about IST embarked on a mission to automate everything it possibly could to pretend that there are ready answers. This is like alchemy, but for performance. Alchemy hovered between worlds. So does contemporary performance management hovering between fiction and reality. Alchemists proposed to use the philosopher's stone (materia prima), a mysterious, unknown substance that they believed to have the power to transmute base metals into gold. So does contemporary performance management by hailing IST as its “Magnus Opus”. Without a doubt, it is high time to rebuild a firm foundation of performance management. We need a consistent framework addressing the relevant aspects of performance management from the abstract level to the concrete level. Only than IST will be able to unfold its full potential, and deliver on its promises. The strategic potential of IST does not lie in empty automation that enforces unrealistic and oppressive processes. It lies in enabling better decision making in a highly complex environment of change, uncertainty, risk, and urgency.