Published: September 1, 2019

What Gets Measured Gets Prioritized

Measuring success (or successful people) in technology focused organizations is challenging (and important)

In an attempt to define “what (or who) is working” in an organization, it is critical to understand what is important. Without this foundation, it is all too common to start measuring the easiest metrics in an attempt to determine success or failure of a project/person/market.

This is a challenging problem. For example, how does one measure the quality of code produced? or the quality of a developer? Number of lines of code produced? Number of bugs produced? Number of security defects later discovered? These answers fail to provide a full picture of quality, but are arguably “easy” things to measure. Organizations without a focus on the actual mission, organizations bogged down in bureaucracy, or those with leaders who lack creativity will default to measuring the easy things.

When these easy metrics are the only thing measured, they become the focus, and therefore the priority.

Determine what matters

Most organizations probably have some sort of core competency, a thing that truly produces value. Determining this is problem number one. Does the organization provide exceptional customer experience? Or a technically superior product? Figuring out what matters helps you to …

Determine what to measure

It is highly unlikely that measuring everything is the solution. In fact, it seems inefficient to spend the time, energy, storage, and technical debt to measure things impossible to act upon. I’ll postulate that measuring fewer things diligently, exceeds the value of measuring everything. Identifying the actions, processes, or products which create value allows you to conduct deliberate, thoughtful measurement.