CIO Straight Talk - Issue 11 - 26

appreciated as individuals by their boss. Now,
I'm not very good at remembering names,
especially with a global team of 500 people. The
temptation is simply to avoid the problem by
not addressing people by name. But even when
I meet people I've met before, I will honestly
confess my lack of recall for names and ask them
to remind me of theirs. The rapport created is
worth my embarrassment!

where it stands. But you also want metrics that
are actionable.

Irrelevance. Everyone needs to know that
their job matters. Without seeing a connection
between the work and the satisfaction of another
person or group of people, an employee simply
will not find lasting fulfillment. It's up to you to
help create that connection.

Say you're tracking data on defects in a module
of software. You identify one defect, then 10,
then 20. But without setting a trigger point that
prompts a change in behavior, such metrics are
meaningless. So, you might say that when we
reach 10 defects, we'll stop adding new features
until we can get the defects back down below
that level.

Immeasurement. Employees need to be able to
constantly gauge their own progress and level
of contribution, without waiting for the opinion
(or whim) of their manager. Helping them to
determine an objective way to assess their own
performance can help prevent that uncertain
and unhappy state of what Lencioni calls
Let me add to Lencioni's advice a thought on
coaching. The best coaches are the ones you
don't even notice. Their guidance often comes
in the form of questions - Who is your audience
for this? How could you measure that? - rather
than answers. This style of coaching fits well with
my mantra, because it prompts people to think
of their own answer, which in turn invests them in
the solution.


Having established a good relationship with
your team, you need to decide how to measure
its performance. Obviously, you want objective
metrics that are fair and let the team know

I always ask job candidates during interviews
what they think makes a good metric. Most
people came up with expected responses - it
must be measurable, it must be clear, etc. But the
smart ones pinpoint the key element - a good
metric results in people changing their behavior.

Too often companies get in the habit of
collecting data, for the sake of collecting data.
But if data doesn't result in a change in behavior,
stop collecting and reporting that metric! (Oh,
and be sure your team helps in setting that
metric. Remember the mantra!)

Next, you must have an operational approach
that works. For me there is nothing better
than SAFe, or Scaled Agile Framework, which
combines the workflow practices of lean product
development and agile software development.
In the traditional waterfall approach to software
development, your clients will typically see a
software project (often stuffed with features
they don't want) when development is virtually
complete and it's too late to incorporate their
suggestions. With SAFe, clients are involved
with your staff on a regular basis throughout the
development process.
This collaboration is in line with my mantra -
people support what they help to create - and
also ensures that developers remain focused
on client needs, which may only emerge as part
of the development process. It also promotes
transparency. Software development has
traditionally been viewed as a sausage factory:
You didn't want to see the product being made.
Now everyone gets to know and comment on


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CIO Straight Talk - Issue 11