By our ability to stretch and achieve goals that are just beyond what we are comfortable with, and when we miss them, we learn, adjust and try again.
To this end, we perform as a team, not a collection of individuals. To optimize our team performance we must be able to predict what we will get done, and by when, to achieve our collective goals. By saying what we will do, and then following through and delivering as promised, the individuals within a team, or cross team, can take the promised deliverable and they can in turn build upon it in a continuous, just in time, improvement loop.
If we don’t deliver as promised, the loop is broken, cycles are lost, and continuous improvement suffers.
Will there be failures? Absolutely. There has to be failures. We are stretching just beyond our comfort point. If there are no failures, there is no learning. And this is the reason for this article. If we shade the failure grey, rather than black or white, move the targets, or look at the results with rose coloured glasses, we miss the learning. We don’t improve. We just momentarily feel a bit better about ourselves.
To this end; we set our targets; sprint lanes, burn downs, epic measures of success, scorecards, scoreboards, etc. and we do not change the goals mid stream. They stand so that if we miss, we can clearly see where we have failed and when we fail we sit down and really think through our missed commitment so that we learn from the situation. Skipping this step robs us of the learning. Don’t move the line, don’t skip the learning, because if you do, embracing continuous improvement is just lip service to which we talk in bold terms, but we don’t actually do anything about.