I had the pleasure of reading a recent article by Scot Adams (creator of Dilbert) on the secret to success. One of the points he made really resonated with me as it’s something we’ve been stressing (with increasing success) for the last few months at Administrate: Don’t focus on goals, focus on systems.
In short, rather than focus everyone on your Key Performance Indicators (although these are important to know and track), focus instead on systems and processes that breed success. For example, like most organisations with a customer services team, we have a lot of data about tickets, resolution times, how long issues sit in different status states, and a whole lot more. It’s really easy to get caught up on “how many tickets we have open!” when zero bugs or zero open issues isn’t really the point. Instead, we’ve been focused on perfecting the systems and processes we use to tackle these metrics. Instead of feeling successful when we reach an arbitrary (and impossible) goal of zero outstanding issues or problems, we’re focusing on improving the systems we have in place to tackle these issues. Now we feel successful when we can know that issues will be triaged, attacked, and solved in a correct and repeatable manner. See the difference?
Get the system right, and your KPIs and other indicators will fall in line. Get the system wrong, and you’ll be chasing an increasingly dismal looking set of metrics that never seem to improve.
As we continue to grow and scale, focus on systems and our values becomes more and more important. I’m really proud of how far we’ve come as a team, and am very excited at what’s still to come!