Articles · · 2 min read

Measuring Design is an act of bravery.

It's easier to debate the value of measuring design than it is to be more accountable for a decision. The most influential design leaders let the measures speak for themselves.

Let’s be honest. Despite all the literature, guidance, and thought leadership advice, very few teams and companies are measuring their work right now. And for those that are, there are many different reasons why measuring works for them. There's no silver bullet answer.

It's easier to debate the value of design than encounter the real problems: bad faith arguments, poor leadership, and broken promises. These debates are both expressions of trauma and expressions of frustration. But, your work does not speak for itself.

Measuring forces us to be more accountable for our decisions, is outside our comfort zones, and gives us less room to hide behind our decisions. Measuring pushes us away from where we feel safe. Measuring highlights the missteps of leaders in positions of power.

I have rarely met a leader in a seat of power willing to expose themselves in a way that might be personally detrimental to their position or their power. Hiding behind their past and present decisions is an act of fear. And yet, when we can't convince them to act otherwise, we feel as though we've failed. We're stuck.

A seat at the table without measures is a trap.

By spending all of our time consumed with only the things we’re interested in, we are naive in understanding how rooted organizational beliefs and policies are. By only focusing on what we know and what we’re comfortable with, we are often pushing hard for change in the wrong direction. By only communicating in the ways we prefer, we are using a whole bunch of the wrong tools for the right problems. And when we do those things, we prop up the existing beliefs of the definition of good.

We become spectators and victims at the same time. We are neither.

Chief Design Officers need to track and monitor the quality of our decisions to demonstrate, not state, there is more to value than revenue alone. We need to measure the efficacy of our decisions to claim our agency and our worth. We need to feel confident in our decisions as we’re making them, regardless of what others believe.

Having held many seats at many tables over my career, what I can tell you is that tracking and measuring your decisions will help you stand out. Standing out is an act of bravery and one that won't always be rewarded in the way you expect. Standing out is honoring yourself and your values.

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