Friday, October 2, 2009

Tracking is not the same as doing

There seems to be some level of buzz over FitBit (, a device that tracks the calories that you’re burning as well as how much you sleep. The base idea is to let you know how your exercise regiment is doing as well as how well you are resting…but not the number of calories you consume. I have to admit that I’m slightly an exercise freak (working out 5 days a week) and at times have become obsessive, given that, I find no real value in this product (but best of luck to them). The first thought that came to my mind was that it will give people the false impression that they are actually doing more by just wearing the device – letting them know how many calories they are burning and perhaps justifying that extra spoon of sugar in their coffee…which bring us to the project management discussion of the day – Tracking is not the same as doing……..

I’ve been in a few companies where the CIO’s action to improve IT is the implementation of a PMO or more stringent project management. All well and good, since in order to determine what the root cause issues are and to know if you are improving over time the first thing you need to do is measure where you currently are…HOWEVER, in many cases the implementation of the tracking (PMO or other) is it, no further changes, just using the collected data to show people that work is being done. Well, guess what, the difference in productivity between the day before the PMO was implemented and the day after is the same - there is a theory that there is some short term improvement to productivity by just measuring it – something about giving the workers either a feeling or importance or fear to help them improve – short term only….Same idea as the FitBit, measure all you want, but the most important thing is to improve.

  • don’t lose the goal of improvement and 
  • don’t let fancy charts and interesting numbers get in your way
  • don’t feel good about where you are
  • don’t feel you deserve something just because the reports look good
  • always be on the lookout for way to improve 
  • make sure your primary focus is on people – the key to any real improvement

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