Frederick Winslow Taylor , the father of scientific management , introduced what are now called standardization and best practice deployment. In Principles of Scientific Management , (1911), Taylor said: "And whenever a workman proposes an improvement, it should be the policy of the management to make a careful analysis of the new method, and if necessary conduct a series of experiments to determine accurately the relative merit of the new suggestion and of the old standard. And whenever the new method is found to be markedly superior to the old, it should be adopted as the standard for the whole establishment."
As in the private sector, the only way to understand and manage a process is to see how it works. Yet public-sector managers don't always see themselves as supervising or managing an "operation," and it is unusual for a single person to be responsibile for an entire process. In addition, top-down targets tend to focus on a single part of the operation, to the detriment of the process as a whole. One mail-sorting facility, for example, set a target for dealing with incoming mail. The target diverted attention from outgoing mail, which sat in out trays for over two days.