Unknowable Numbers and the Absurd
This article talks about software for lean manufacturing environments, an idea that could be debated on its own. But the thing that jumped out at me here was the analyst comment:
Ralph Rio, ARC Advisory Group, commented, “Software for enhancing a Lean Manufacturing program has become an important market segment. The recent ARC Market Outlook Study on Continuous Improvement Systems forecasts the market growth for systems and services at 12.7 percent annually.”
Does saying “12.7%” give a level of precision that makes the forecast that much more believable. Who cares if any market is growing at 12.7% or 13.2593234%. It’s ridiculous.
Deming considered statements like this, I believe, to be one of the “Seven Deadly Sins of Management”:
“Use of visible figures only for management, with little or no consideration of figures that are unknown or unknowable.”
Good article on that here.