If you Aren’t Measuring It You Aren’t Managing It

A favorite axiom in management is, “If you aren’t measuring it, you aren’t managing it”. Just as driving a car with your eyes closed will result in disaster, running a business without some sort of performance feedback will result in business disaster.

The collection and use of data is important because things are rarely what they seem to be. Data helps us separate what is really happening from what we think is happening (or what we want to be happening). When we make decisions based on how things feel or how they have always been, we are operating in the “as we think it is” world. This is a prescription for disaster. The successful business operates in the real world. We call this the “as-is” world.

Collecting Data

Collecting data for analysis is more than a statistical process. All of the math in the world will not compensate for not understanding the behavior of the process you are trying to measure.  Not everything is settled in numbers.  Some things will be discovered in context.  For example, “We really have problems when it is raining.”

 As a result, data collection plans embody four qualities of collected data that are essential to optimize its usefulness. These qualities have to do with the data’s ability to represent the process’ performance.


  • There must be sufficient data to see the process’ behavior.