Quantify your goals: a simple idea with huge benefits

A 45 minute Case Study by:

Nik Silver

Silver Works Ltd

Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Case Study

Quantifying your goals is not a new idea - Tom Gilb has been driving this point home for decades - but it is woefully undervalued. I've been working for the last 12+ months at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at programme and project level, helping senior people structure their delivery for success. And in that time I've found that a simple application of Tom's techniques has been incredibly powerful again and again. This session will give examples of how I've used this and accompanying techniques.

The situations in the examples are where projects or programmes are non-trivial, when the organisation is transitioning to agile (and hence working out new roles for existing people and new governance mechanisms), or where individuals are new to a role such as delivery manager or product owner. However, the techniques are not limited to these situations.

The central idea in this session is this. Clarify the team's/project's/programme's goal, express it as some quantified metric, and give the team/project/programme responsibility for delivering an improvement in that metric. If we focus on this simple idea it becomes the cornerstone to much more effective delivery and governance.

I will use examples from my time with various teams and stakeholders at the ONS including:

  • how to approach the "but this isn't quantifiable" objection, measuring seemingly unquantifiable goals
  • how to use impact mapping to draw out the project's goal(s)
  • how the approach provides an entry into using cost of delay
  • how the approach leads to easier, less emotionally-charged conversations
  • how the approach improves delivery assurance
  • using the approach to promote team collaboration, more effective show and tells, frequent delivery and creative solutions

About the Speaker

Nik has been working in the agile space since 2003. He led the Guardian's development team for 8 years, where he introduced agile and was also responsible for programme oversight, product development and more.

Since then Nik has been working independently in roles that cover delivery, programme management, coaching and training. He's done this at BMJ, Travis Perkins and Time Out, amongst others. He blogs at niksilver.com.


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