meten = weten

before or after

steering a process
In the Dutch language stories about controlling processes the 'meten = weten' statement is most popular. The idea is that if one can measure one can know how to steer. The key is of course to, with a goal or target, also define how to, by what characteristics, measure its behavior or properties. The 'meten = weten' applies both to processes and products. A product can be abstract like 'a strategy', but can also be an artifact or a process.
Measuring (meten) as a steering mechanism however is always after the fact. It is a feedback type of control. Knowing (weten) provides for a feedforward type of control.

measuring or producing

When measuring and steering based on the measurements one is always just a little too late. Steering only occurs after a measurement indicated a deviation. In the context of controlling a project this can be understood as steering to only occur after a delay has occurred already. The effect is that repeated measuring and steering makes the actuale state swing around the optimal state which here is indicated with the red line. The graph is a little optimistic in that a damping effect is depicted. I assume "the system" learns to better or more carefully steer.
The picture clearly shows that when using measuring based steering as the means to control, the road to the target becomes longer.
A way to improve the situation, reducing the waist, is to increase the frequency with which one measures and steers. If I'd measure the state a project is in once per hour then I'd continuously be much closer to the ideal line. Unfortunately my resources now would spend all their time reporting progress. They would have no time to make progress. This may explain how some types of organizations get caught up in controlling the process so much that they have hardly any time left to work on the product.
swinging around an ideal condition

knowing or changing

When knowing, a straight road to the target should be possible. I guess this makes me an advocate of the CMM model. My doubt is that I cannot see how CMM works in the context of change occurring at an increasing rate.
right on track


Hence we stimulate knowledge, rather than project administration.
Theo van Eijndhoven, 2000