What gets measured gets done…

Outsource contracts include service levels and key performance indicators (KPIs) together with how they are calculated and reported and what penalties arise for non-achievement. This means that when the service is running the client, supplier line management and the supplier service delivery team can all see what’s working and what isn’t. This focuses everyone’s attention on areas of underperformance and enables the success of corrective action to be tracked through the return of indicators to the required level. This neatly illustrates the well-known adage that ‘What gets measured gets done…’.

This saying has been around for a very long time, so the Badger was surprised to overhear a conversation recently where a smartly dressed lady was quizzing a man about the status of a software development project in a London Starbucks. The lady asked about the status of development and the man replied that it was ‘Amber’. The lady went on to ask exactly how much of the software was developed, how much had been tested, and whether progress was on track. The man shrugged and just restated it was Amber. The lady looked anxious and sensibly asked how he knew it was Amber. The man shrugged his shoulders again and said that it was the general sentiment of his team. The lady looked unhappy and just said, ‘You obviously don’t have any facts, so this sounds very Red to me’. They left shortly afterwards.

The Badger almost choked on his latte wondering why he was hearing this conversation in 2018. The Badger first heard conversations like this more than three decades ago when it was already known that quantitative metrics and measurement were crucial to control in any software or systems development lifecycle. Over the years the Badger has seen many software and systems integration projects that became major situations when quantitative management, engineering and test measurements were absent. Turning these situations around not only always entailed putting quantification, metrics and measurement in place, but also then aligning people to get things done based on analysis of the associated outputs.

Although the world today is very different to that of a couple of decades ago, the maxim which is the title of this post remains totally relevant and is imperative knowledge for anyone in a leadership or management role. Surely in 2018 we shouldn’t be having to re-learn the lessons of old on software-centric projects? Perhaps we do. At the very least it seems necessary to continually and better communicate and educate so that such basics are routinely cemented in individual learning. So, the Badger’s plea of the week is simply this; remember, if it isn’t being measured then it won’t get done – and that goes for software/systems projects just as well as service deliveries. Pass it on!


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