Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

By Date: March 2023

KPI measurements and feedback loops

Commonly attributed to Peter Drucker a cornerstone of management is "If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it." (which according to the Drucker Institute he never said).

It's a Damned anyhow situation. In my oberservation KPIs are plagued by linear thinking and, what I call Gamability. Let me explain

Meet the feedback loop

We are caught in a "newtonish" world of belief that there is a linear relationship between a cause and effect. Most notably visible in post mortem demand for a root cause analysis (At least science gives ceteris paribus a thougth).

In his book The Fifth Discipline the author Peter M. Senge offers a different view and model. Most system, from small atomic particles to the Universe are bound in a series of feedback loops. The emphasis here is on loops -> plural. The various execution speeds lead to observable results, that can't be explained with single linear thinking.

Let's take a sweet example, that should be easy to relate:

Chololate eating and happiness

You don't feel happy, so you eat your favorite food. Now your happy. Two (obviously simplified) feedback loops kick off. The red lines indicate that the loops work with a delay.

The upper one removes the "favorite" from the food, while the lower one removes the hapiness inducing effect. Pretty obvious and as I said grossly simplified.

Read more

Posted by on 30 March 2023 | Comments (0) | categories: Business Learning

POPIAH - an agile journey in 8 iterations

In a recent chat a store manager shared how tedious the annual physical stock taking is, since the company doesn't provide handheld barcode scanners. Why not use your phone I replied. So after a short discussion it was agreed to build a MVP.

The geek corner of my brain went into overdrive: databases, authentication, protocols, libraries - the whole shebang. If you don't reign into that, you end up with the famous "swing design"

Swing design, the customer wanted a tire

(shamelessly borrowed from here)

Luckily there's the agile way: add value incrementally. Our increment frequency was one improvement per 15min, tiny step by step ;-).

The result is POPIAH: Poor Operator's Personal Inventory Assessment Helper (not that one). The final (for now - pending making it pretty) result looks like this:

Application screenshot

Step by step

Our epics (defined looking back) were:

  • make scanning work
  • make the screen useful
  • allow using the data elsewhere

Read more

Posted by on 04 March 2023 | Comments (0) | categories: Agile Development