Episode transcript The transcript is generated automatically by Podscribe.
Ricardo Vargas (4s): Hello, everyone. Welcome to the five minutes Podcast today. I like to discuss one sentence that professor Rita McGrath from Columbia university said in a webinar I was participating in. She said, Review Your Metrics Because They Lose Value Over Time. And this made me think a lot about how do we measure things? How do we measure success? How do we measure the deliverables of our projects? And this makes me think, also and making it a simple analogy with my personal life. For example, I'm trying to get, I would say, more fit, and I'm using a treadmill.
Ricardo Vargas (44s): So I'm trying to do some exercise. And the first thing that my personal trainer said to me while he was teaching me how to do the exercises that "Ricardo, you should never repeat the same exercise the same way for a long time." And then I asked him why, and he said Because your body gets used to that. And it will find a way of getting the job done with less effort and by less effort means by losing and spending less calories. And you know, what do you want is the opposite. You want the body to be alert and mindful. So he said to me, Ricardo, you should go on a treadmill at five miles per hour, two degrees off inclination.
Ricardo Vargas (1m 29s): And then next day it's 4.5 and four degrees of inclination. The next is six miles per hour, zero inclination. So you should. Why? Because we are that you make your body to adapt. And these adaptations create a far more nimble and agile body. And if we take this same analogy to our initiatives and our projects, we should do the same, because let me tell you, if you, we have a metric that shows green light as a success, the first thing you will learn is how to make it green. And the second thing you will learn is how do I make it green when the least possible effort, how I can; please am not saying that it is unethical, but you will think what is the lowest amount of effort for me to get it to green, but the problem, so everything would be perfect.
Ricardo Vargas (2m 27s): If that metric was an absolute metric that could cover all your business, but this is not true. Every single metric has its downside. So if you give a lot of effort for cost, a lot of focus on cost reduction and people get paranoid and just think about cost reduction. You may face a side effect of people who are not thinking long-term. People are destroying the quality people do not comply with the rules to save each a natural way, human beings. So if you do that and make these, I would say a blindfold decision, people will mess up with other things just to get the green because this is where the incentives will go.
Ricardo Vargas (3m 14s): And then you may say, OK, so we need to cover everything. Yes, but to cover everything, you will have to have a hundred indicators, a hundred Metrics. And if you have a hundred Metrics, do you have no Metrics because then you will have a company that one person is doing the job. And nine people are just feeling the report to show that you are not doing your job. So it doesn't make sense. So what you should do to sort this out from time to time, you need to tweak and adjust. Like the example I used on the treadmill, like, for example, cert engines do to avoid people, to trick the system.
Ricardo Vargas (3m 54s): So every time google and other search mechanisms, what they do, they tweak the search engine to make sure that people are not manipulating the information. This is the key thing. So you need to say all these are important now, and then you revisit, then you tweak. Then you elaborate because over time, people will get used, and you will find the way to get to the green, even if you were losing the side of several or other things. So think always about that. Review your Metrics and understand that over time they get just destroyed.
Ricardo Vargas (4m 34s): Then they become pointless. Look today; for example, when we see polls for election, no matter country, no matter the election, we are facing different challenges because you truly believe that you have candidate X, Y, or Z with 20% of votes, plus 2%lor less 2%. And what happens in realities that people change their behavior from the poll to the vote, him and then during the voting things change because you, or just in a blindfold assumption, that just by filling that form on the poll, you can evaluate the full population. And sometimes these just do not work.
Ricardo Vargas (5m 16s): So sometimes you are measuring one thing on the project with the assumption that everything else is fine. And sometimes it's not fine. This is why you should always Review. And last but not least, remember that not everything is measurable despite of several authors say that. Let me tell you trust sometimes on your feeling. And I don't know how I can teach you that, but trust on your feeling. Sometimes your feeling will give a different flavor or a different taste on that green light, that yellow light, or that red light. I'm not saying with a biased view, but go above and beyond the numbers and be ready because we are living in a such a fast-paced, changing world that we cannot just rely on one single measurement.
Ricardo Vargas (6m 8s): Okay. I hope you enjoy this podcast until next week, with another five minutes, Podcast, take care.