"If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it" - Lord Kelvin.
That's a quote that comes from this blog post, talking about ways in which you might measure your performance. Numbers are not the only important thing to measure, and you certainly don't want to just pick one measure. The blog post talks about performance of employees, looking at different ways to not only measure the performance of one job, but also using different measures for different jobs.
The idea of measurement is applicable to both people and systems. Having a constant way to measure performance, track those measurements, and perform analysis of the data is an important way to know if you are actually making strides toward building better performance and more efficient systems.
However it seems that even though many people know these things, they don't actually capture the measurements regularly. As I talk to people, asking them if they know things like the backup growth for their critical databases, they don't. I've asked people if they know how much time they spend on blogging, or if they are reaching more people, or really for any metrics, and they often don't have any idea.
Numbers aren't everything, but they ought to be a thumb-in-the-air measurement that guides you to find ways to improve over time. You can be on the schedule that works in your environment, and on the pace to improve things that fits the situation, but if you don't measure yourself or your systems regularly, it's hard to know if you're actually moving forward or backward.
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