Friday, August 28, 2009

My New KPIs

Working as a financial services consultant for the last six years, I learned to love metrics. We measured everything: the site's performance, response times, down time, up time, wait times, peak times. We measured return on investment, return on capital, expenses, revenues, client satisfaction, and call volumes. If you could assign a number to it, we tracked it, and if you couldn't, we made one up (they call those "composite metrics"). But the most important numbers were the KPIs, Key Performance Indicators. If you wanted to call yourself a project manager, then you had to get yourself a set of those.

KPIs measure the success of a project. They tell you whether the last six months of meetings, late nights, arguments, and design debates were worth it. They also tell your boss (or in my case, your client) whether you're worth the money they're paying to keep you around. You watch those numbers pretty closely.

Now that I'm voluntarily unemployed and living in Greenland -- er, Boulder -- I find that the old metrics no longer apply. I need a new set of numbers to measure my job satisfaction. Allow me to present my new KPIs:

  • Miles biked: 183
  • Books read: 2 1/2
  • Pounds lost: 4 (need to work on this one)
  • # of days where I walked my kids to/from school: 9
  • Mornings spent at Starbucks reading the paper while other people rushed in to get their coffee to go: 7
  • Hours spent writing: 1 (definitely need to work on this one)
  • Days since I saw a Dilbert cartoon that directly applied to my day: 35 (this one makes me excessively happy)

So far, I'm pleased with my performance, though I can see some room for improvement. We'll see what I can do over the coming weeks.

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