Evaluate and Measure Progress

by on August 27, 2013
in book, design

An Excerpt taken from, The Value of The Finite
‘An acre of performance is worth a whole world of promise.’ – William Dean Howells

Oh so let’s assume you have decided to take action, you have found a regular routine that works to maintain focus, you’ve successfully avoided disrupting your progress with new ideas by starting and managing a backlog, and you’ve made some progress towards your goals. Now it’s time to put in place a regular set of checkpoints or milestones to evaluate your plan, your progress, and your backlog, to ensure you’re heading in the right direction.

The benefit of evaluating your progress is threefold, it provides:

1. A regular cadence to acknowledge and celebrate your progress!
There’s an old saying that the only reason anyone ever finishes a marathon is because at mile 18, when things get really tough, you’ve already run 18 miles. Acknowledging your progress becomes the push you need to finish those final 8.2 miles. So your project effectively generates it’s own positive inertia, effectively pushing you further toward the finish line, simply by taking a minute to acknowledge how far you’ve progressed. It’s also an excellent excuse to throw a party – everyone loves a good party.

2. Focused opportunities to adjust your plan.
As you design and build a solution inevitably you will learn things about the customer, the market, your approach, the technology, your solution, all learnings that you didn’t have at the outset when you started. Each check-in is an opportunity to adjust your direction to ensure your project is viable without disrupting the focused execution. In this way you can work effectively (even at scale) to ensure your solution remains viable.

3. A measurable timeframe to evaluate your project velocity, by asking questions like:
▪ How far have you come?
▪ How far have you left to go?
▪ How long did it take you?

By actually measuring how long it took you to go from milestone 1 to milestone 2, you can much more accurately predict when you will hit milestone 3, and eventually cross this finish line. This data can significantly help you adjust for your end date, by managing the scope of your project if necessary, or how you are resourcing it.

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