Haupz Blog

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The Build Trap

2021-10-02 — Michael Haupt

Here is a brilliant article on the build trap - that state you can end up in when you measure success in output rather than outcome. The article is full of wisdom relevant for OKR setting and measuring success, and it’s a healthy dose of customer value centricity for everyone who’s “just” thinking about that next commit, that next merge, that next rollout.

In a nutshell, having impact should be valued over producing artifacts and delivering features. This thinking can apply at all levels of scale.

Using JIRA tickets and epics to quantise work? Consider expressing them as user value increments and user-observable acceptance criteria rather than technical to-do lists.

Setting sprint goals? Consider framing those as value-adds rather than “deliver X”. (The value-add notion opens a path to better measurability.)

Formulating OKRs, at any level of the organisation? Choose KRs that express actual value delivered rather than sheer usage metrics.

Inside the build trap, every line of code committed, every feature rolled out, are successes. If they end up not adding any value anywhere on the user side, they have a blinding effect.

Tags: work