You can’t manage what you can’t measure.
It sounds logical. And I believe you have met this quote before - millions of articles are written, It circulates around the management and some people have a strong belief in it. This belief leads to setting up KPIs for people, which they have to achieve. If they achieve it, they will get a carrot, if don’t, here is your stick, pal.
I was a part of the vast majority of people who believed in it. Because it’s logical! I tried to apply it to my processes and set KPIs for the team. But it stopped working in product development processes that have been filled by creative people. They delivered a valuable feature, they put their efforts into improvements, that others couldn’t even imagine! But my attempts to measure it were failed. I was wondering how numbers and simple criteria might help people to invent something new. How I might know what we have to invent? I halt doing that.
Afterward, I found a full quote, with context:
It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.
That is the total opposite I read in popular journals! I suspected it and my suspicions were confirmed!
Since that, KPIs and metrics have lost the sense for me for foals achieving. They are fit to answer the question of where we are now. But they can’t be used to achieve more.