This blog post is based on my experience with 4DX (4 Disciplines of Execution) framework.
If you read the previous post about 4dx then you already know a lot about 4DX. But now we need to somehow make it happen. This post will give you a few hints on what you can expect when introducing 4DX to your team(s). Let us focus on 4dx implementation.
First Things First
If the team believes that metrics are one more tool in the management toolbox to control & punish them, then it won’t work.
4DX won’t work without trust.
The 4DX book stresses the importance of bottom-up approach. The goals work only if you feel that these are your own goals (and what better way to feel this way than to come with goals yourselves?). The scoreboard is useful if it is yours. The weekly analysis of what went well and what didn’t is fruitless if not done by your own team.
You can only measure your own performance.
Yes, sure, be transparent about your goals, let others see your LAG & LEAD measures, why not? Maybe they will get inspired or offer you some insights, tips or even help? That is fine. But the whole process should belong to the team.
We Have Data Let’s Us It
Are you familiar with the streetlight effect? Following Wikipedia:
[…] it is a type of observational bias that occurs when people only search for something where it is easiest to look.
Think about these two facts:
- your team already has some data,
- gathering data for LEAD measures is often painful (as they often relate to actions).
If you combine the two above together you will understand why it is so tempting to “use the data we already have and see what measures we can get from them”. Nope! Don’t do that!
What you should do is to first decide on measures relevant to your WIG, and then work hard to get the data.
As you remember 4DX promotes goals in a very specific form of “from X to Y by WHEN”. What I observed is that it is hard to set the goals like this especially when you begin. Mostly because when attempting to set your WIG you might not even know the baseline. Also, you might have no clue what kind of improvement is possible. So I have seen teams starting with something like:
“OK, so X is important, we focus on this, and let us see how much we can improve it in Y weeks”.
Not perfect, but good enough to start IMHO.
It often happens that the beginning of the scoreboard are rather unimpressive. A spreadsheet file with a chart. Or a hand drawn chart on team’s whiteboard updated daily by hand. It is OK, it really is.
As long as the scoreboard is easily accessible and you can figure out if you win or lose, then having even a rudimentary scoreboard is a good start.
The opposite approach is to plan a perfect one and have none for a long time. I heard once that “X (our frontend) will do the dashboard once he comes back from holidays”. I asked when X goes back and learned that he comes in 3 weeks. Oh, and surely, when X goes back he will take care of the scoreboard immediately, because there will be no other more urgent tasks waiting for him! After some discussion we started with a simple chart on team’s whiteboard. It worked good enough.
The first moment a team puts all their task on kanban board is often a moment a revelation (“ah, so this is what we are busy with!”) and often also a moment of immediate fixes (“but we could do X so that Y!”).
Same happens with seeing your scores on scoreboard. It might happen that there are some quick fixes the team hasn’t thought about before they visualized their LAG and LEAD measures on their scoreboard. Somehow seeing is not only believing but also leads to action. Good.
These quick wins might have a great impact on your 4dx implementation and adoption.
The 4DX book suggest you should have a separate meeting so that the team could regularly see their progress towards the WIG(s) and plan next action to move the LEAD measures. In practice, it often happens that this topic will be taken care of during already existing meetings – e.g. planning or retro.
Similarly to scoreboard – it is OK for the start, but probably something you would like to improve over time. It is a good idea to have a meeting devoted solely to 4DX goals & measures.