Monday, March 1, 2010

Moving Goalposts

"Goals" are incredibly common, at least in the companies I've worked in and around. Usually there are the big corporate goals along the lines of "book $X in revenue this quarter". Your team probably also has goals as well: "Get our bug count under X" or "Have a week of clean test runs" or "Improve our estimates so the next 10 stories are within 10% of estimate." Having goals is great. Meeting goals is great. It's also not quite enough.

Once you've met your goal, it's time to move the goalpost.

For example, let's say you're trying to get your bug count under 50. When you meet that, it's time to move the goalpost. Celebrate your goal however you like (our team is very food-oriented, so it's usually muffins or cookies or something). Then move the goalpost. It was 50? Now get it under 30. Oh yeah, and stay there for some period of time.

When you meet your goals, go ahead and celebrate. Then move the goalpost. After all, goals aren't about easy; goals are about accomplishing better things.


5 comments:

  1. Hi Catherine

    Very inspirational post indeed.
    But for how long can you keep moving the goalpost ? How much should you stretch it ?

    Thanks
    RP

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, you are right catherine, celebrating goals is always inportant, for team motivation its really great

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous posted this, and Blogger ate it. Apologies!

    Hi Catherine

    Very inspirational post indeed.
    But for how long can you keep moving the goalpost ? How much should you stretch it ?

    Thanks
    RP

    ReplyDelete
  4. RP, it'll depend on the goal. If, for example, your goal is to improve performance of your application talking over ethernet, well, you're going to have to stop once you hit wire speed! Other goals (more accurate estimation, for example), you can keep improving for a long time.

    And once you've started over-optimizing, maybe it's time to move the goalpost to an entirely new field and start working on something else.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "move the goalpost to an entirely new field and start working on something else."

    Really like this.

    Thanks
    RP

    ReplyDelete