What makes a good goal?

goals
Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

John Allspaw has a great tweet on problem discovery:

I’ve always loved the tweet, but I only recently noticed the paper he cites in the thread. It’s called “The Art of Problem Discovery: Adaptive Thinking for Innovation and Growth”, by Brian Mathews.

In the prologue, the paper tells the origin story of Swiffer – Proctor & Gamble’s billion-dollar hit product line. It all started with a simple question: “how can we make the floors cleaner?

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Estimated time != Calendar time

 

Estimated Time != Calendar time comic

Does the above sound familiar? If you have worked in an engineering department for any length of time, you have probably had this experience.

So what is going on here?

The problem is that there is a fundamental disconnect between the two people about what they are actually talking about. The product person thinks the engineer is talking about a calendar time estimate. But the engineer is thinking about an estimate in terms of the effort involved – one that is completely divorced from any specific calendar or scheduling considerations. This is one of the reasons why many projects are late.

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Analytics for the Engineering Manager

Analytics are critical to success in business today. Businesses can’t expect to understand their customers or the best path forward without constantly leveraging and gaining insights from their data. Just like business leaders use analytics to be more effective, so too should engineering leaders!

Leveraging analytics in your daily work as an engineering manager will help you make better decisions and increase your confidence in those decisions. Simply put, if you build the skills up and use them – it’s like a superpower. It will open up a whole new world of opportunities to make you and your team more effective.

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