Tag: organisations (page 1 of 9)

Artificial metrics are flying by instrument

We had a conversation earlier this week about how we’re going to measure the progress of some community work we’re doing. In the end, we decided that there were no metrics that would make sense. It’s a vibe.

This post says much the same thing. Sometimes there are no  objective measurements for things that matter. And that’s OK.

Flight deck controls

Artificial metrics are flying by instrument. They’re individual “better/worse” dials that in amalgamation are supposed to tell you which way things are going, as long you are paying attention to the correct combination of them at the correct moment, and don’t over-react to the feedback loops and crash the whole thing via a PIO. Instrument-only flight is harder than visual flight, it takes extensive practice, and the mistakes have worse repercussions.

You can instead choose to just fly visually. It’s easier, it’s safer, and it’ll get you where you’re trying to go. The thing is, your entire industry thinks it’s impossible, and worse, they think it is irresponsible. They’re kinda right. You have to be good at the innate skill of flying, instead of the skill of navigating by instrument. Guess which one the “become a manager in tech” system produces. Bonus points: recognize how that is itself a PIO.

Bonus Bonus Bonus points: Consider that if you’ve learned the skillset of visual flight poorly, and you don’t use the instruments to correct yourself, how will you ever know it’s going wrong in time?


What matters for your team/org’s success is the fundamental human relationships, comradery, esprit de corps, support and space-curation, and especially, all of the prior while treating-em-like-adults. Those things make up the totality of why people want to work on your team and are excited about working with and supporting their peers. These are not invisible things. These are things you can pay attention to, structurally. These are not things you can quantify with numbers. You’re going to have to get comfortable with forming, expressing, and defending opinions based on things besides “data.” Not because you don’t have data, but because you don’t have quantifiable numbers that represent themselves, and our industry is poisoned into believing that only such things are data. We’ve got thousands of years of evolution helping us understand how group dynamics are flowing. Yes, using that is a skill set. That’s my point. Build and use that skill set. Learn how to read people’s reactions. Learn how to understand people’s motivations. Learn how to see how people work in groups and as individuals. Do the work.

Source: How to build orgs that achieve your goals, by absolutely never doing that | Graham says wrong things

Image: Jp Valery

OKRs as institutional memory

Rick Klau, formerly of Google Ventures, is a big fan of OKRs (or ‘Objectives and Key Results’). They’re different from KPIs (or ‘Key Performance Indicators’) for various reasons, including the fact that they’re transparent to everyone in the organisation, and build on one another towards organisational goals.

In this post, Klau talks about OKRs as a form of organisational memory, which is why he’s not fond of changing them half-way through a cycle just because there’s new information available.

Let’s not distract ourselves just because someone had a good idea on a Tuesday standup meeting; let’s finish the stuff we said we were going to do. We might not succeed at all of it. In fact, we probably won’t, but we’ll have learned more and more. You can encode that. That becomes part of the institutional memory at the organization. (link and emphasis mine)

Source: OKRs as institutional memory | tins ::: Rick Klau’s weblog

Information is not knowledge (and knowledge is not wisdom)

Some reflections by Nick Milton on why knowledge management within organisations is so poor. If I were him, I would have included the below illustration from gapingvoid as I think it illustrates his five points rather well.

data, information, knowledge, insight, wisdom, impact

Firstly much of the knowledge of the organisation is never codified as information.


Secondly, a common problem (a corollary of the first) is that project knowledge may never have been recorded in project documents.


Thirdly, and a corollary to the first two, the vast majority of project information is not knowledge anyway. If you are relying on project documents as a source of knowledge, you will be relying on a very diluted source – a lot of noise and not much signal.


Fourthly, if there is codified knowledge in the project documents, it tends to be scattered across many documents and many projects.


Finally, many of the knowledge problems are cultural. People are incentivised to rush on to the next job rather than to spend time reflecting on lessons, no matter how important.

Source: Why you can’t solve knowledge problems with information tools alone | Knoco Stories