7 Jun

Bragging About the Wrong Metrics

Recently a friend bragged he had spent two and a half hours at the gym the other day. I listened as everyone in our group commented on how much dedication that must take. Wishing they had the time and willpower to focus so heavily on fitness. I was confused. He isn’t particularly fit, so what are those endless hours at the gym accomplishing?

This reminded me of the countless hours that we would work at a previous company. Working from 9:00 AM to midnight was, at times, common. Not everyone did this, some went home at more sane hours, while others worked through nights and weekends to meet a deadline. Most mornings the people who worked late would also arrive late. They still worked more hours, but not by nearly as much as it seemed at first.  But in meetings they (myself included, at times) could subtly brag about the crazy hours worked to help the team meet a deadline.

But long hours aren’t what helps the team, quality code and great design is what was needed. We were bragging about the wrong metrics. The focus should have been entirely on output. How many great features we were creating and the overall quality of our software. Instead the focus was on input. The number of hours worked.

This is just like spending hours at the gym. While you do get a good workout, the same level of exercise could probably be completed in a fraction of the time. At work we read blogs, have meetings, and socialize. At the gym we change weights, socialize, and generally waste time.

Cut out those inefficiencies, focus on the results, and then you may have something to brag about.

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