Scoreboard Index At Agile Gothenburg

Introduction

Management 3.0 is an evolving set of tools, games, and practices that reinforce the idea that management is a group rather than an individual responsibility in an organization. Management 3.0 seeks to achieve the most efficient way for an organization to meet its strategy and objectives while maintaining the happiness of the workforce as a priority.

Management 3.0 has its foundation in complexity theory, complexity thinking, and Snowden’s Cynefin framework. Management 3.0 (and Cynefin) main thesis is that it is not possible to control a complex system but it is possible to guide it through experiments and observing constraints.

Management 3.0 rejects the approach of traditional management to reducing organizational complexity by introducing rules, processes, and best practices (the obvious Cynefin domain). Instead, Management 3.0 views an organization as a living, complex adaptive system with constituting parts that show complex behaviors in adapting to a changing business environment (the complicated and complex Cynefix domains).

Management 3.0 handles organizational complexity with complexity by assuming subjectivity, keeping options open, and using a diversity of perspectives. While the Cynefin framework is well-established theoretically, Management 3.0 focuses on hands-on approaches, running experiments, and playing games that increase employees’ engagement and encourage their feedback.

We see management 3.0 as a nice extension to existing methodical approaches to managing products, projects, and programs, whether these approaches are conservative or agile.

This report discusses an experiment with the Scorecard Index; a Management 3.0 practice.

Scoreboard Index

Since Management 3.0 is all about experiments and learning, one might be tempted to believe that Management 3.0 is not methodical. That is actually not the case. The scoreboard index is a sounding proof of Management 3.0 credence to doing measurements in order to stand on the progress towards achieving organizational objectives.

A scoreboard index is a tool for measuring and visualizing performance and improvement. The steps for using a scoreboard index follow (should be done in consultation with your team):

  1. Define a few subjective goals for your team. For instance, ‘more engaged customers’.
  2. For each subjective goal, define 2-4 objective metrics. For instance, the metrics ‘page views per week’ and ‘blog comments per week’ seem fit for the goal ‘more engaged customers’.
  3. For each metric, establish two lower bounds, a number that makes you feel devastated and another one that makes you feel unhappy. For instance, I would be unhappy if my ‘page views per week’ is 200 and devastated is it is 100.
  4. For each metric, establish two upper bounds, a number that makes you feel happy and another one that makes you feel ecstatic. For instance, I would be happy if my ‘page views per week’ is 500 and ecstatic if it is 1000.
  5. Observe these metrics on a regular basis, weekly or monthly, depending on the availability of the data, and record the metric values in a sheet.
  6. Convert the metric values into percentages using the four lower and upper bounds you established in steps 3 and 4.
  7. Take an average of the percentage values in order to get your subjective goal index for the period.
  8. Visualize your findings in a graph for ease of comprehension.

The scoreboard index has the following desirable properties:

  1. It enables the team to regularly evaluate its performance and reprioritize the work if needed.
  2. It is simple, visual, easy to understand, and does not take much time to keep updated.
  3. It is flexible in that it permits changing a metric without fear of breaking the evaluation of the main index.

We have experimented with the scoreboard index in a certain context which we talk about in the next section.

Experiment Venue

The venue of the scoreboard index experiment is Agile Gothenburg. Agile Gothenburg is a nonprofit Scrum Alliance user group that provides a community for those who are practicing, passionate about or interested in Agile approaches to management and leadership in Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as the Nordics.

The group goal is to offer insights into the manifestation of Agile behaviors and concepts (in leadership, project, program, portfolio, product, delivery, and service management) through the sharing of knowledge, experience, and lessons learned.

The format varies between workshops, open space meetings, featured talks, and group creativity techniques.

Agile Gothenburg was born in January 2017. Besides sharing Agile-related content with the community, the group had featured talks on:

  • Donating project management service for social good
  • Agile project management offices
  • Digitalization and unpredictability in organizations exercising agility at scale
  • The Reiss motivation profile
  • Management 3.0 practices

Furthermore, the group had sponsored and actively assisted in organizing the Agile People Sweden Conference 2018.

For the most part, Agile Gothenburg broadcasts its message through its social media platform which comprises:

The group is interested in monitoring and improving its contribution to the local and regional Agile communities as well as the level of social media engagement of these communities. The scoreboard index seems like a good tool for that. The following section goes into the details of the scoreboard index experiment as conducted at Agile Gothenburg.

Experiment

As mentioned in the previous section, Agile Gothenburg is interested in tracking and improving two aspects:

  1. Its contribution to the Agile communities, and
  2. the social media engagement of these communities.

The above two aspects can be considered as subjective goals of the organization. Here and hereafter, we will refer to the first and second goal as ‘Contribution Goal’ and ‘Engagement Goal’ respectively.

Before discussing the metrics in details, it is important to mention that the Agile Gothenburg Facebook page is relatively new. Therefore, social media measurements are only derived from the LinkedIn page.

Two metrics are defined for the Contribution Goal. They are listed below together with their lower and upper bounds.

  1. Number of events: devastated 0, unhappy 0, happy 1, ecstatic 2
  2. Number of posts: devastated 1, unhappy 2, happy 10, ecstatic 15

Three metrics are defined for the Engagement Goal. They are listed below together with their lower and upper bounds.

  1. Page followers gained: devastated 1, unhappy 2, happy 20, ecstatic 40
  2. Page views: devastated 10, unhappy 20, happy 200, ecstatic 400
  3. Post impressions (The number of times a post was shown to LinkedIn users): devastated 100, unhappy 200, happy 2000, ecstatic 4000

All the metrics above are observed on a monthly (rather than weekly) basis for two reasons; arranging an event takes at least two weeks and social media analytics is monthly aggregated.

The metric values are recorded over a period of six months from May 2018 to November 2018. The lower and upper bounds are used in order to convert the metric values into percentage values. An average of these percentage values is taken in order to obtain two performance indices; one for the Contribution Goal and another for the Engagement Goal. The results and a discussion appear in the following section.

Results and Analysis

The metric values for the Contribution and Engagement Goals are listed in the following table.

Plotting the percentage columns for the Contribution Goal yields the following figure:

Plotting the percentage columns for the Engagement Goal yields the following figure:

In general, the engagement and contribution indices fluctuate in roughly the same way. In other words, the engagement increases with the increase in contribution.

In August 2018, the contribution (6.7%) is low but nonetheless, the engagement (75.37%) is high. The reason behind this anomaly is the usage of three LinkedIn campaigns in August 2018.

In October 2018, both the contribution (106.25%) and engagement (70.37%) are high. October 2018 is the month in which Agile Gothenburg got busy distributing the message and takeaways from the Agile People Sweden Conference 2018.

In November 2018, the contribution (16.52%) is relatively low. However, the engagement (138.76%) is quite high. The reason is that Agile Gothenburg on-boarded a new, well-connected volunteer in November 2018.

In conclusion, Agile Gothenburg would benefit from regular marketing campaigns, involving in bigger events, and collaborating with well-connected individuals in the community.

References