Metrics Driven Design – Blue Madness

As many of you know, Google did some optimization of their color pallet as documented in the 41 shades of blue blog.  Customer driven/quantified decision making using objective metrics are normally the goal of most organizations who normally shoot from the hip.  Did Google go too far?

There are some good treatments of “Metrics Driven Design” by Joshua Porter in:

This topic raises questions about where to concentrate your efforts – one area typically ignored in technical leadership (and leadership in general) is opportunity cost.  Not only is there the hard cost of going down a given path of choice, but there is the hidden costs of not doing something that is more important.  Could the engineering and marketing team have done something more important with their time – high likely.

The other area worth examining, which Joshua describes clearly, is local versus global optimization. Yes, we may have selected the right shade of blue, but is this the biggest area to optimize for the team?  Stepping back and looking at the big picture and asking the most open ended questions can yield a focus on the biggest challenges – not the ones most near by.

In the end, just about anything can be measured.  That is not the point – the point is measuring the right thing.  I learned early on that FINDING large problems is more important than SOLVING small problems.

This is a good case in point – have we found a problem WORTH solving?

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