Monday, October 16, 2006

Goals and Metrics.

I think a lot about goals and measuring them. For myself either I complete something or I don't.
Company goals and department goals are also different than personal goals.

For example, if I'm in charge of a department I have a department goal of x units to produce per day. What's being produced won't matter, widgits, phone calls, sales made, it's irrelevant. At my company I know specifically what it is that my goal is and making x of it is what I want. If I want to ensure that I make x, then I have to set up goals that each person needs to do their part to reach that goal, so each person needs to do x/person. Pretty simple math. If each person reaches 100% of their individual goal, then I meet my department goal and everyone is happy. If the group averages 100% then we are also all happy.

I know of a situation where this is not how it's being done. Instead the supervisors are watching their employees and figuring out how many each can do a day and then coming up with the goal in reverse. In essence, with total disregard for the amount of work that may be profitable for the department we are finding out how much work our users are actually showing us they can get done. We've done this in the past, but amazingly after coming up with how much can be accomplished on average, the department always exceeds 120%. An average day should be around 100%.

I have several major philosophical issues with this. First the average amount of work a day is the amount that we get when we are currently hitting 120%. Our numbers should be shifted to make this amount the 100% amount. Second, the amount of work that we are doing is not tied in any way to the amount of work that we need to be doing. I don't know what those numbers are, but it's conceivable that even 200% is not enough. If we are getting w amount of work done and it's only 50% of what we need to be getting done it should be reported as only 50%. Currently we are rewarding our employees for getting more work done on a normal work day than they did when they were being timed and knew it. Of course they all worked slower during the timing phase because they knew it would make it easier for them to acheive their goals. By reward I mean we are actually paying out bonuses for people who are able to meet more than 100% of the easy goals that they set for themselves. This is wrong.

Goals are simple and straightforward. Getting x done earns us money, our goal is x. Getting more than x done earns us more money and we offer bonuses. I sometimes wish I could just slap the manager that came up with this way of measuring performance.

1 comment:

AriT93 said...

would this be QQM, or its successor? Please don't hit me