Measure for Reality
By Michael Hedgpeth · July 7, 2014
Measure for Reality

Buffalo Rib-eye, medium at Reata with a glass of cab. That’s what I get when I’m ready to celebrate.

We had finally sold our house and knew we needed to jump on the next one. On the first day of looking, we found a house with a lot of potential and decided we wanted to make an offer. When the offer was accepted, we got babysitting for the kids and headed to Reata to celebrate. Then I got a text. Look away, look away! Another one. My wife is more important than this phone. Another one.

A friend of mine wanted me to come work with him.

The offer was very attractive and tempting. But I didn’t take it for a number of reasons, one of which was that I felt like my work wasn’t finished at my current job.

Then the next two weeks were hell at work. Negativity. Failure. Struggle. Wondering to myself if there will every be anything but negativity, failure, and struggle.

I was fed up and needed to get honest with myself, so I went to Esparzas and mapped out how I could get out of the situation I was in over a few margaritas.

Let me let you in on a little secret of mine: every three months, I go to a restaurant, have at least two margaritas, and write out what I’m happy about, what I’m not happy about, and what I’m going to do about it. This particular day I was not happy about the fact that I turned down a great offer and didn’t have a wildly successful project at the time that made that decision feel worth it.

The problem I uncovered that day over a few margaritas was that we were doing some great things but those great things weren’t measured and reported on. So to outsiders, especially senior management, those great things didn’t exist. What I needed to do was measure the outcomes we were creating, and then share those measurements with the stakeholders on the project. That would turn is this ever going to work? into this is working, but they have a few issues right now.

In a few months, we created a daily report that showed the project’s output every day for the runs that happened every day. This was a game changer for my project, and for my job. Now I look for any way to measure what outcomes I’m creating because I know no matter how good the outcome is, if it isn’t measured, it doesn’t exist.

To wrap up the story, I made the right decision with staying with my company. The project just needed some advertised regular measurement. Once that was in place everything changed. And my friend left that job six months after he made that offer, due to fighting over which direction to take their product. A year after that the project he was on was cancelled.