Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Jun 2024

Measuring Outcomes

A friend asked, “how do you know what to measure?” My answer came with a caveat, “measuring only matters where outcomes are clear, shared, and honored.”

We then talked about what it looked like to structure onboarding behaviors for new persons to a company or project team. We started not with “here’s what the team needs you to know,” but with “here’s what your job description dictates what you can do, will support us in doing, and how we will support you.”

We then moved into outlining the behaviors and aspects needed to be oriented to the company culture and methods. Then to the project team’s culture and methods. I spoke of a self-assessment taken on day 1, day 30, and again at day 90 - and how these assessments are linked to the job description, company culture, and project outcomes.

And finally we came back to what we measured. We measured the extent to where the outcomes were achieved or not. The level of understanding, or not. We measured the clarity of what is handed off, and the vitality of what is archived for future work. We measured our maturity at the outset, the checkpoints in between, and at the close of the engagement. We measured the depth of the ability for all participants to tell the story of what mattered to the customer, client, project team, and organization.

Their response was filled with grace, and judgement, “I like this, but we don’t do this. Are we really successful if we don’t know even a part of this? Why are people in positions above me not emphasizing these items?”

There are always outcomes. Sometimes, we can measure why they were never possible to begin with.