We have argued in recent ActiveOpinions that team leaders are the engines of performance and that in the new digital age, we need to make sure that Business Analysts who become leaders of robotic teams develop skills in Operations Management to match their skills in process analysis and programming.
Now we want to talk about what data should be made available to team leaders to help them optimize performance, and in particular, we want to bust some myths surrounding measurement.
W. Edwards Deming famously said, “Without data you are just another person with and opinion”. He also is reported to have said “In God we trust, all others bring data”. So, it is perhaps not surprising that he is often attributed (incorrectly) with saying one of the most famous management quotes of them all:
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” – 1 Wrong!
Here is what he actually said:1 We think it was Peter Drucker but are open to correction on this.
“It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.”
ActiveOps provides technology that supports real-time data capture of what’s going on in a business operation and uses that data to provide insights on how things might be made better. So it might come as a surprise for us to stand foursquare with Deming on this and say that a management approach based solely on measurement is risky and may do a lot more harm than good.
Before we risk doing a Gerald Ratner (Google it if you are too young or not familiar with the UK retail jewellery market to know this reference!) we should stress that we are not anti- measurement.
We are only anti-lazy and mis-applied measurement. The phrase we would like to catch the imagination is this:
Don’t substitute measurement for management…