What Gets Measured Gets Done

1 Feb

When it comes to Business Performance measurement the phrase “what gets measured gets done” tends to appear quite frequently. This famous phrase is attributed to the management guru Peter Drucker. The basic idea behind the phrase is that if you have an expectation and a sense of being accountable for a goal or outcome, there’s a good chance that you’ll see progress made toward accomplishing that particular goal [1]. As I mentioned in my previous blog, measurement is a crucial aspect in understanding what works and what doesn’t. Organisations must measure their performance against that of competitors.

Going back to the idea of “What gets measured gets done”, a simple example of this would involve a manager and an employee in say, a supermarket. If we look at the scenario of where the manager gives the employee three tasks to do by the end of the day, but the manager highlights one of the tasks as the most important. Naturally, the employee will focus more on that particular task to the detriment of the other two tasks.

Another important point to note is that there is a risk of measuring things that don’t really matter and are irrelevant in terms of an organisation’s goals. Given the vast amount of business metrics around today, it’s easy to measure things that are not really that important to the organisation’s success [2]. This is particularly interesting in the terms of measuring the performance of IS investment. The human element’s interaction with the system plays a big role in the ultimate return and success of the investment. According to Williamson (2006) “it’s a known fact: our equipment and facilities will deteriorate without proper, timely and intelligent, human intervention”. Similarly for an information system to be successful in an organisation, the knowledge of the human element using the system is key.


[1] http://www.thebridgeofsnm.com/blog/what_gets_measured_gets_done/


[2] Williamson, Robert M. (2006) ‘What Gets Measured Gets Done Are you measuring what really matters?’, Strategic Work Systems, Inc. Available: www.swspitcrew.com



One Response to “What Gets Measured Gets Done”


  1. Just because it isn’t measured, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter | Strategic Workforce Planning - March 29, 2013

    […] What Gets Measured Gets Done (sopinion8ed.wordpress.com) […]

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