“When used correctly, data is not the enemy of Intuitive Creative Thinkers; it is a powerful friend.”— Leena Patel

I had that Moneyball moment.

I was recently talking with a leader responsible for complex systems development efforts. We were discussing metrics that are valuable to their organization.

As I often do when having this conversation, I recommend that the leader check out the book or the movie Moneyball. I was asked, “Why would you recommend a baseball movie?”

A partial answer is that the manager I was speaking to likes baseball. More profoundly, Moneyball is a movie about the use of statistics to understand the deeper parts of the game. It’s a movie about leaders who are brave enough to use that more in-depth understanding of the game to win more games. It’s about how to lead your teams to success with better data.

In the movie, there is a moment where the manager of the baseball team wants to get a player from another team. The manager of the other team is startled. He asks, “Why this player? He does not get a lot of hits.”

Our statistics thinking manager answered truthfully, “Well, yes, that is true. But he does get walked a lot. I like players that get on base.”

I wanted the complex systems development leader to watch the movie for this very reason. Because this leader had just expressed how impressed they were by one of their developers who was so fast, they always got their software into test before anyone else.

A different developer I was advocating for was perceived as slow at getting software into testing.

My rationale was simple. “Yes, that is true, but unlike your “fast” developed, the slower developer’s software is always the first out of testing because there are few, and often, no problems to address. I prefer people and teams who are first to the customer, not first to test.”

The leader I was working with now understood what I mean when I say we look for the Moneyball moment.

We look for examples like “first to the customer with a useful product” is a great measure of success.

Do you have useful indicators that lead to your teams winning?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett

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