Niko-Niko Calendar

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niko-niko

niko-nikoWhile I was at the recent Agile Leadership Network (ALN) event earlier this month, Dave Nicolette presented a talk on metrics.  I’ll admit, I’m fascinated by metrics.  I remember working on the NIH Executive Dashboard and then the NCI Dashboard between 2004 and 2007 .  But since then, I’ve grown to look at metrics differently.  Though I’ve taken steps to ask myself questions to ensure my metrics are worth something,  I’ve seen the Hawthorne Effect in action and it made me question how metrics can be easily manipulated. Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to measure team performance and then they start acting all crazy due to upcoming dates like the end of the sprint or the end of a deployment cycle?  I’ve seen developers start to rush.  Risk goes up and quality can go down, just to try and maintain a velocity.  Well, Dave showed a slide in his metrics presentation that really hit home for me.  It’s called the Niko-Niko (mood) Calendar.

Let’s say your position in the company is to ensure customer satisfaction.  A useful unit of measure would be NPS (Net Promoter Score).  Think of it as a customer satisfaction or “happiness” metric.  NPS is based on the fundamental perspective that every company’s customers can be divided into three categories: Detractors, Passives, and Promoters. By asking one simple question — How likely are you to recommend [Company X] to a colleague or friend? — you can track these groups and get a clear measure of company performance through its customers’ eyes.  I’ve written about it before in a post titled Outdated Success Criteria.

That’s all fine and good but what if your position in the company is to ensure employee satisfaction?  As a manager or a leader you should be working to keep your employees happy.  How would you measure their happiness?  You could use a Niko-Niko calendar.  Each individual on a team should identify their daily mood in one of three ways: happy, indifferent, or unhappy.  Because I keep a daily journal of what I do, I recreated a calendar to see if there were any trends.  Do you see any?  Can you see the the days I was working at my other job and I was dreading a particular meeting?  Can you see the days I spoke to LitheSpeed or when I was hired by LitheSpeed?  Though you can’t make everyone on your team happy, as a manager or servant-leader, you should be creating an environment that will, in the end, make them happier and more productive.  If everyone on the team maintained a mood calendar, a manager or leader could take action before negative feelings become caustic to a team.

Outdated Success Criteria

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I know this is going to probably get me some “hate” comments.  It seems like if I write about anything but a zombie, that’s what happens. But I do like to write about topics that make people stop and think. Think of this post a bridge between a historical project management and futuristic project management.  Let’s think about success in both an objective and subjective way.

I’m seeing more and more topics about the measurement of success.  Geoff Mattie just wrote a post over at the PMI Voices site, titled Can Agile Conquer the Physics of the Triple Constraint?

Geoff refers to Triple Constraint and states

The “iron triangle” as some refer to it, defines three pillars: cost, scope and time. It asserts that you have to prioritize the three with an understanding that trying to have all of them at the same time compromises quality.

I applaud Geoff in his zealousness and hope this works for him and hit customers.  Being his blog post is on the PMI website, I want to point out the the iron triangle is not in the PMBOK.  Rather, on page 6, it states

Managing a project typically includes… balancing the competing project constraints including, but not limited to Scope, Quality, Schedule, Budget, Resources, and Risk.

I remember a few years back, when taking the PMP exam, I had a question about typical project constraints.  The answer was not limited to 3 or even 4 “pillars”.  So, where am I going with this?

graphic by Jessica Clarke

I’m curious why people continue to measure the success of a project, merely on the basis of an iron triangle.  I think this concept is outdated and perhaps created by a project manager to help an executive understand project management at a 100,000 foot view.  I am also curious why many continue to use the Chaos report, (which leverages triple constraint) as the de facto report of industry success or failure.  I am not debating that it has historical significance.  But, I am questioning if it should be the way of measuring project success.

Jeff Sutherland has a blog post about the happiness metric. In his post, he mentions Tony Hsieh of Zappos.  I recently read the book Delivering Happiness by the Zappos CEO.  Again, what’s my point?  Perhaps the Chaos report should introduce happiness or customer satisfaction at part of its success criteria.

Too subjective you think?  I think not!

I recently saw a presentation by Sanjiv Augustine as part of the VersionOne AgileLive Webinar Series

One of the concepts presented in Sanjiv’s presentation was a NPS (Net Promoter Score) metric.  Think of it as a customer satisfaction or “happiness” metric.

NPS is based on the fundamental perspective that every company’s customers can be divided into three categories: Detractors, Passives, and Promoters. By asking one simple question — How likely are you to recommend [Company X] to a colleague or friend? — you can track these groups and get a clear measure of company performance through its customers’ eyes.

So, what is the Zappos NPS?  In a YouTube video of Tony Hsieh at the NPS Conference  (1-26-09), Tony said Zappos offered random email surveys that resulted in an 83% NPS and phone surveys resulted in a 90% NPS.  Though they lose money on some of their customers, they are an overwhelming success.

Do you believe the Standish Group Chaos Report should include NPS to define success? Are the original classifications outdated?