Peter Drucker, on the importance of observing, instrumenting and measuring:
That which is measured, improves
I've noted this truism before. Sometime over a decade ago I helped turn around a bleeding sales lead funnel. I started off by noting that we had no visibility into the data we were collecting. Within a period of implementing reporting (oh Crystal Reports, how I don't miss you), the numbers started getting better. We made many tweaks and changes, but nothing we did ever improved the numbers as much as simply reporting on and making the numbers visible.
I'm thinking about this again as my current shop has moved into a period of, as Will Larson puts it, reclaiming our unreasonable software. How simply by measuring and reporting on a category of metrics such as performance, they often start to improve. (This isn't magic. There's heavy correlation between having hired the right people + created the right culture and the ability for improvements to spontaneously appear in a newly measure system. Lots of blood sweat and tears are involved at the tactical level. Etc.)
Here's a fun note about this quote: Apparently Drucker never said it.
If something is widely attirubtued to someone, does it matter if they never actually said it? Is this a sort of Placebo Effect For Anecotes And Quotes?