Home » Metrics » Knowing More Than Your Teams Knows About Themselves

Knowing More Than Your Team Knows About Themselves[Steven Ma, Founder, ThinkTank] reassures the bewildered, multigenerational audiences that top-ranked American universities aren’t nearly as capricious as they seem, once you know their formula.  ThinkTank boasts that 85 percent of its applicants get into a top-40 college, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.  “Our model knows more about how to get into many colleges than their own admissions officers know,” he says.  Bloomberg Businessweek, Sep 8, 2014.

We just know that those people doing or managing the work are the experts.  They Know the most about what they are doing. We go to them to get all the deep insights into what we need to know.  They are the experts after all.  They make the important decisions.

Compare with Why We Don’t Really Need All Those Experts

What I’ve discovered over my career is that those people we expect to know the most very often don’t.  They are very convincing and everyone is taking their advice and doing what they suggest but we consistently notice things that just don’t go right.

I’ve made a career at knowing how an organization performs better than those people managing or leading the organization.  What I did was not radical.  Instead I simply looked at what was going on in an objective manner and noted the patterns.

For more on how see Manage By Living With Our Data

The significant patterns were often those that were at odds with the truisms repeated within the organization:

  1. “It takes us three days to fix a defect, so we’ll fix the problem by this Friday” conflicts with the data showing it takes us on average two weeks to fix a problem.  The problem finally gets fixed two weeks from today.
  2. “We can deliver this new product in 15 months” conflicts with our track record of delivering all our products late by three to four months.  Our average time to deliver a new product is 18 months.  We then deliver 18 months later, three months after we had promised it to our customers.
  3. “It takes us a couple of months to deliver a new feature” conflicts with the historical data reported by my managers that averages out to nine months to deliver a new feature.  We then deliver the new features in … nine months.

As a project manager I always knew better than the organization’s managers how their  product development organization performed .  This was especially humours during a time when the fad was that VPs should look and sound technical, with their sleeves rolled up, and they would present status reports at my project meetings. It felt like a complete role reversal as I would tell them how long it would take their team to complete their task and they would tell me the status of their task while being coached on what to say by a team of their technical minions.

If we are doing a good job as a project manager then we already know how the organization  performs, even before we get their proposed plan. There should be no surprises.

For more on how see How To Quickly Give Your Boss An Accurate Estimate

How well are you doing at knowing how your project organization performs?

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