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April 14, 2022

Dominica DeGrandis’ Essential Data to Enable Systemic Change Playlist

By Dominica Degrandis

Enabling Systemic Change

Want to know how well your organization can adapt to change? Look at your data.

I’m a firm believer that the data you choose to analyze—and the data you choose to ignore—are crucial indicators of an organization’s capacity for a successful transformation.

The topic of how data can enable systemic change has always resonated with me. I’m curious about how data can enable teams to evolve effectively—and with minimal fear—when they are challenged by the imperative to adapt.

These are my favorite videos. I like them because they include actionable takeaways for changing important workplace problems that are often invisible, systemic issues that need to be managed thoughtfully.

A Balanced Set of Good Metrics

The presentation on metrics from 2015 by Julia Wester and Troy Magennis, “Metrics and Modeling – Helping Teams See How to Improve”, is still so relevant today, particularly for coaches or advisors looking for ways to use prescriptive analytics to help teams improve.

"Metrics and Modeling – Helping Teams See How to Improve" by Julia Wester and Troy Magennis at DevOps Enterprise Summit

One key takeaway is the two fundamental questions that help to identify whether or not a metric is good for the business:

  • Does it matter to my customer?
  • Does it help us make a decision that makes our business fitter?

The other key takeaway for me is the guidance to actively monitor a balanced set of metrics. It’s fairly easy to game a metric, so it’s important to measure the impact of the change in one metric on the rest of your other metrics.

Plus, sometimes changing one metric can amplify the negative impact on the other metrics. Having a balanced set of good metrics helps people understand the tradeoffs being made that impacts team effectiveness and economic outcomes.

WATCH: Metrics and Modeling – Helping Teams See How to Improve (San Francisco 2015)
Julia Wester, Improvement Coach, Leankit
Troy Magennis, President, Focused Objective

Maslach’s Burnout Inventory

There’s a reason this talk has more than 140,000 views—burnout really matters.

Burnout is a response to chronic stressors in the workplace that aren’t managed sufficiently. It’s a legitimate, occupational phenomenon, according to the World Health Organization.

"Understanding Job Burnout" by Dr. Christina Maslach at DevOps Enterprise Summit

Exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy are warning indicators of the toxic work environments that can cause burnout. To minimize its effects, work conditions need to be designed so humans can thrive psychologically and physiologically, which contradicts the more common approach of just trying to make people become stronger and more resilient.

Burnout has three dimensions, all of which can be measured by Maslach’s Burnout Inventory (MBI). Maslach references Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance and What We Can Do About It, if you’re interested in more data on the topic.

WATCH: Understanding Job Burnout (Las Vegas 2018)
Dr. Christina Maslach, Professor of Psychology, Emerita, University of California, Berkeley

Flow Data Over Project Data

With a captivating story and an eloquent presentation, Dr. Mik Kersten provides a historical view of technological revolutions since the late 18th century, plus how each one has a turning point resulting in a tiny fraction of companies who survive the competition.

What’s phenomenal about this talk is the courageous acknowledgement that surviving the current digital revolution doesn’t include a Project Management approach that saw its heyday in the 1890s.

"Project to Product: Thrive in the Age of Digital Disruption with the Flow Framework" by Dr. Mik Kersten at DevOps Enterprise Summit

As someone immersed in flow, I really enjoy Dr. Kersten’s emphasis that what’s really needed for a company’s future relevance is the careful management of the flow of work across value streams, combined with using a common language spanning business and technology.

WATCH: Project to Product: Thrive in the Age of Digital Disruption with the Flow Framework (London 2019)
Dr. Mik Kersten, CEO, Tasktop

- About The Authors
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Dominica Degrandis

Author of Making Work Visible

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