Measures of Success
Measures of Success
Measures of Success

This book is 96% complete

Last updated on 2018-07-16

About the Book

Notes on the Early Releases

I'm getting pretty close to done with the book. It was last updated on July 9, 2018.

I'm excited to announce that Donald J. Wheeler, Ph.D., author of the amazing book Understanding Variation, has written a foreword for the book.

If you buy the book now, you'll be notified about additional material and formats for free as they get added to the book. The book will also be available through the Amazon Kindle store and will, most likely, be produced as a paperback book. The version sold here will eventually contain "digital extras" include templates and other bonus material.

Video Introduction

The video of my talk, given at Lean Startup Week 2017, introduces some of the key concepts in this book.

About the Book

The latest book from Shingo Award-winning author Mark Graban (Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen) teaches managers, business owners, and improvement specialists how to most effectively look at metrics and performance measures – a key challenge for any organization. 

If you feel stuck on a roller coaster ride of highs and lows created by upticks and downturns in metrics, this book shows a better way to chart and track results over time. If you overreact to noise in a metric, you're likely wasting effort. You'll learn when to react and when to step back and look at improving processes systematically and sustainably, leading to better results. We can turn data, metrics, and charts into knowledge, wisdom, action, and better results.

Using examples from healthcare, startup software companies, manufacturing, and more, Graban makes these methods accessible and actionable, providing vivid stories and examples that anyone can relate to. You’ll learn how to create and use “process behavior charts,” a simple yet powerful statistical method that has been proven in many settings. 

“Everyone who is exposed to business data of any type needs to read this book.” – Donald J. Wheeler, Ph.D., author of Understanding Variation.


This book is based on and built upon workshops I have been doing on under the banner of "Better Metrics."

The inspiration for this book comes from the work of Donald J. Wheeler, as I have blogged about, along with my own experiences with Lean, "strategy deployment," "Lean Startup" and other practices.

WHAT we measure matters. Once that's decided, it's imperative that we know HOW to manage those measures and HOW to improve the systems that lead to those results.

The key point is that too many organizations, under the banner of "Lean Daily Management" or other methods have more performance measures that they look at more frequently. The problem is when managers overreact to every up and down in the data, asking for investigations into "root causes" of a bad day that's essentially noise in the data.

If we stop reacting to every up and down in the data, managers and their teams can focus their investigations into data points that represent significant signals in the data. If we stop wasting time, we can improve more.

This book covers practical details of the "Process Behavior Charts" method (as I have blogged about) and we can use this method to save time, manage better, and get better results.

This page has more about the book concept, past blog posts on these topics and more. And also see this recorded webinar on the topic.

Hypothesis: Potential book readers are under great pressure to improve, but have limited time. As organizations add more performance measures and look at their metrics more frequently, there's lots of data available… but does that really lead to improvement?

Current management methods such as red/green analysis, comparisons to targets, and comparisons to past results don't help them distinguish between “noise” and meaningful “signals” in those metrics. A better method would save time and help focus efforts where they matter – knowing when it's appropriate to react and look for root causes of changes in performance… and when to step back and study and improve the system and its overall performance in a more systematic, less reactive way.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Donald J. Wheeler, Ph.D.
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Improving the Way We Improve
  • Chapter 2: Introducing the Process Behavior Chart
  • Chapter 3: Action Metrics, Not Overreaction Metrics
  • Chapter 4: Linking Charts to Improvement
  • Chapter 5: Learning From “The Red Bead Game”
  • Chapter 6: Looking Beyond the Headlines
  • Chapter 7: Linear Trend Lines and Other Cautionary Tales
  • Chapter 8: Workplace Case Studies
  • Chapter 9: Getting Started
  • Appendix A: How to Create Process Behavior Charts

About the Author

Mark Graban
Mark Graban

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, professional speaker, and blogger. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. For his full bio, visit

His new book Measures of Success is being published initially as an "in-progress" book through LeanPub.

He is the author of the book Lean Hospitals, which was the first healthcare book selected for as a recipient of the Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award. Mark has also co-authored Healthcare Kaizen and was the editor of the anthology Practicing Lean, which was published through LeanPub..

Reader Testimonials

Donald J. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Donald J. Wheeler, Ph.D.

Author of "Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos"

...everyone who is exposed to business data of any type needs to read this book.

Quint Studer
Quint Studer

Author of "Hardwiring Excellence"

We all know hard work doesn’t guarantee results. So many organizations generate great ideas but can’t execute them. Smart leaders with the best intentions stay stressed out and frustrated by a lack of improvement. And as the business world gets more complex, these problems get worse. Mark Graban explains why the management methods we were taught don’t work. The data-driven decision-making techniques in this book will stop you from confusing activity with progress and—finally—get things done.

Harvey Leach
Harvey Leach

Principal Consultant, The Consultancy Company, Oxford, England

Mark's book is a great introduction to getting more from your performance data. Building on Don Wheeler’s great work on Process Behaviour Charts (PBCs), he highlights many common errors that leaders make with measures then explains how using PBCs with simple improvement approaches will significantly increase performance in your organisation. This book brings much-needed clarity to this important topic and will be invaluable to anyone seeking to make sustainable improvements to their processes.

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