You can manage what you can’t measure.

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Drucker purportedly said “if you can’t measure it you can’t improve it” or “…manage it”. (If he did actually say them).
Any manager who is incapable without metrics is a terrible manager. You can drive a car without a dashboard.


Anyone who is incapable of making improvements without numbers hasn’t danced with the system.

How can inprovement not be obvious? If we improved, how can we not tell the system is better? If we are getting more done and delivering more value, we can see that. It was obvious everywhere I worked.
“I finally get it. I noticed there is so much more laughter in meetings”.
“I left 6 months ago and I don’t recognise this place”.
“You can see the difference just walking around”
Three quotes from three different clients.

 

It’s usually bloody obvious what needs improving, how to improve it, and whether it has improved, to anyone immersed in the work.

Don’t confuse thinking with observation. The problem, need, or risk is observable, it doesn’t need instrumentation to metricate it.
The solution is not obvious. That’s an entirely different thing. It has no need of instrumentation either. We can experument with ideas to see their effect on entirely observable phenomenon we are trying to change.
For incremental optimisation of a bounded flow, instrumentation is necessary. We must measure.
For managing a bunch of people interacting to produce a pseudo-organic complex adaptive entity called an organisation, no. Measurement is only a guide, which can be misleading as often as useful.