This morning I attended the keynote by Greg LeMond. His small company (16 people) uses SharePoint; he believes it is “what the future is for working together.”
Among the many themes of his talk (never give up, have ambitious goals in mind, be confident yet keep your nervousness about the possibility of losing, be passionate about what you do, have a partner that believes in you & supports you), the most notable for me was the concept of averaging your days – some days you’re ahead, some you are behind, but it’s the overall trend that is important.
The Tour de France is a great model of this – the racers are acutely aware of where they stand both on a daily basis and overall - you can “win” an individual day or days but lose the race, and conversely, you shouldn't give up hope if you lose the day - you could still come out on top.
Weight loss is another example – losing a certain amount of weight is an effort that can be tracked with hard numbers on a daily basis, to reveal a trend line. If you slip occasionally and indulge by overeating, your trend can still be toward loss.
What if the achievement of your goal is harder to measure? How can you grasp (and feel good about) the overall if the numbers aren't in front of your face every day? Even if you have well-defined metrics for success (a critical first step toward performance measurement that is often overlooked), how can you increase their visibility?
MOSS 2007 offers tools to make your overall performance trend more visible and easier to comprehend. If you don't have the time or resources to implement a business data catalog, you can still take advantage of the key performance indicator web parts just by putting together a simple Excel spreadsheet or SharePoint list. Which of your company's goals would be good candidates for a simple graphical display on a SharePoint home page? On-time employee timesheet submission? Trainings or certifications achieved across the company? Number of new projects opened this month compared to previous months?
For me, LeMond's message was an important one to keep front of mind - not to dwell on a failure, but to learn from it and focus on the overall upward trend. In the future as I work with my customers I'll encourage them to do the same for their companies, using SharePoint as the enabling tool.