A newspaper’s digital media department was struggling to get things delivered.
At the end of an all-day workshop we had made a breakthrough in the work-in-progress mountain by making it transparent and visual. “So now you can see all the work that you currently have in progress. What concerns me however, is the amount of work. Perhaps we can go back a step and ask ourselves this question: Why* are we doing this work?”
The reason why this question was important to answer is that during the workshop, a number of the participants had said that work was being done “because the boss wants it”.
Clearly this is not good enough and such projects should be put on hold. Yet it is in answering the question “Why” that we find our true belief, purpose and motivation. Taking it further, we need to justify why we are doing things in such a way that we can then evaluate if the benefits were actually realised.
This is hard work. The primary goal of Digital Media is to increase subscriptions. Projects should therefore result in new subscriptions. The question now becomes: “Were the new subscriptions because of the project or because of some other factor?” It is therefore necessary to be able to attribute the results to particular project.
This is becoming known as impact.
So for example, a project could be initiated to raise the subscriptions of readers between the age of 45 and 65 that go hiking in the mountains. One epic could be the implementation of a weather app that provides detailed mountain weather forecasts and reports. If they like it, surely they will tell their colleagues. Thus if subscriptions of 45 to 65 year olds hikers increase it could be highly likely due to this project.
The question now becomes, do you do the weather App first or something else?
* A great source of inspiration for this topic is Simon Sinek’s “golden circle” TED presentation. Most organisations can clearly explain what it is they’re doing and how they’re doing it but can rarely justify why.