What was this week’s grade?

What about last week’s?

If we don’t know the answers, how can next week be better?

Our teams aren’t about making arbitrary “hairy, audacious” goals void of reality because self-help gurus tell us we should. But we’re not about sailing without a rudder, either.

Here’s what we’ve found works for us:

One metric. One week. One grade. Repeat.

One metric: Something you control. Not closes, but good conversations. Not fewer customer support tickets, but fewer bugs in the code.

One week: Because everyone knows what that looks like. Short enough to be like “taking a turn” in a game. Short enough to not permit meetings about what we might consider thinking about maybe doing.

One grade: Was it an A? Or a C-? Maybe a B+? Having a scoring system let’s you know how you’re doing. It’s a game now, one we get to play every week.

Repeat: Are we getting better? Are we staying the same? Is it going down? Is it working?

We don’t need our goals to be hairy to be useful to us. Nor do we need them to be scary, distant or based on forces outside of our control.

Grading the week is a fun game that does more for us than that, with less. Try it sometime.