Time flies. I realize it has been already two months since my last blog posting. This is what the change of the years bring with it – no time to blog for fun – all the time spent on measuring and setting new goals.
In late November and December we spend significant amounts of time documenting what we did during the year, both at the individual and at the project level. This input is then used to assess how we performed against our objectives and milestones.
While I think that these assessments are important to determine the significance of projects and individual contributions, I wish we could do it a little simpler. When I was in sales, it was quite simple – how much did I sell at what profit and how happy was the client with IBM.
Now in Research, there are so many more criteria of what determines success.
At the start of a project it may be, did we get sufficient funding and support, did we find partners to work with us, is it a sufficiently challenging new idea, would it be a radical breakthrough if we solved it? In the middle of the project, did we reach the milestones we had defined, were they ambitious enough.? Did we publish at good conferences, in good journals? Did we file disclosures for patents? At the end of the project, did we transfer the technology/insights to an IBM organization or license it out to a partner? Did we deliver to the client what they had expected? Did we change the course of the (our) world?
We have so many criteria of what defines success that one of our skills as research managers is to choose the right ones at the right time, so we work on the right things rather than only doing the work right.
For the scientists that read this blog, how do you measure success at the end of the year?