I'd love to say the image above is an extreme example, but unfortunately it's a reality. 𝙒𝙚 𝙙𝙤𝙣'𝙩 𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙘𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙛𝙧𝙚𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙡𝙮 𝙚𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝.
Let's think about metrics for a second.. Velocity this, burndown that, cycle time, churn rate. Bla bla bla.
How many metrics are there which measure teams on how often they engage with real users? 𝙏𝙤𝙤 𝙛𝙚𝙬.
We are becoming increasingly data driven. Numbers focused. Page views, number of clickthroughs and a number of other vanity metrics. Some of these are leading, some lagging.
This data focus is abstraction as it reduces customers down to numbers and makes it easier to forget that they are beating hearts behind a website or app. It makes it easier to focus on profiteering over what your customers actually want.
𝙎𝙤 𝙣𝙤𝙬 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝘾𝙝𝙧𝙞𝙨?
Simply, try a few experiments for me.
- Introduce the idea of GEMBA walks to your teams.
What is a GEMBA walk?
Toyota developed the concept of a Gemba Walk. The translation for which is rooted in the Japanese language and means “the real place.” Also widely known as “the place where value is created.”
More details about Gemba walks can be found here
- Consider metrics such as 'Days since last user engagement' as a means of anchoring your teams to customer value and needs.
What is 'Days since last user engagement?'
Days since last user engagement is a metric which helps anchor your teams to their customers. It is simply the number of days since a user / customer was last engaged. This could be through a conversation, a demonstration, a focus group, an interview, there are a myriad of ways.
This is one of the few metrics I have seen in the agile world which relates to the first principle of the agile manifesto - "Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software".
How does it work?
Ensure there is a visible reminder either physically via post-it notes, or virtually via a widget, countdown or addition to a collaborate space which shows how many days it has been since a user was last engaged. Think of a 'Days since last incident' counter that many production plants have to emphasise safety.
You'll thank yourself for trying these experiments.