Tim Hordern

I ♥ building amazing products and teams. QA + Product + DevOps + Fast = Awesome.

Measure Pride So You Can Build It

One of the hardest things to build is pride: in your product, your team, your people, your organisation, your industry, your vision. I’ve written about building great teams, products and organisations but I haven’t written as much about tracking how you’re going.

So how do you measure pride?

A really simple measure to start using is the Net Promoter Score idea. It was originally developed as a measure of loyalty but it’s useful as a measure of pride

NPS is based on a direct question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? The scoring for this answer is most often based on a 0 to 10 scale.

There’s two advantages to using the Net Promoter Score to track satisfaction:

  • It’s simple: I just have to tell you a number between 0 and 10.
  • The situation requires my personal endorsement and a personal connection, which means I have an element of being attached to the score.

Most organisations have come across this idea before: they have surveys about their product, they include ratings on products. A lot less use it internally to assess how teams are performing and how their people feel.

But it’s actually works at every level of your organisation.

Want to track how proud your team is of their team? Ask them how likely they would be to recommend that other people join the team.

Want to track how proud your team is of their product? Ask them how likely they would be to recommend that a friend use their product.

Want to track how proud your employees are of their tech stack? Ask them how likely they would be to recommend the technical choices to a friend.

Strong (high) scores manifest as a measure of pride. And you can learn a lot about the correlation of problems. for instance, seeing a lot of low scores across teams in recommending their tech stack could mean you’re carrying a lot of technical debt, or the technical leadership is lacking, or the technical stack is just not easy to work in.

I certainly wouldn’t use it as the only measure of satisfaction, but it is a very low-effort simple way of tracking pride. I also wouldn’t overdo it - don’t ask 1000 questions about every possible aspect every day, but you can use it every week very simply (max 1-2 questions). If you need to dig deeper, you can ask again in more detail later.

You should be using other quantitative and qualitative measures to determine pride as well. Things like 1 on 1 meetings and retrospectives are great for hearing about how things are going.

Low scores will manifest alongside things like high rates of annual leave, sick leave, people arriving late/leaving early, high churn rates, low levels of employee recruitment referrals, or just lots of people quitting. But those are lagging indicators, and NPS can be useful as a forward indicator. And if you have low scores, then you know that it’s time to bring a lot more focus into those areas.

But what about shame? Shame works out as the emotional cost of working somewhere you have a negative Net Promoter Score. You actively discourage people from joining you. You’re ashamed by your product. You’re ashamed by your technical stack. You don’t want to be associated with it because your friends or colleagues will think badly of you.

If you’re hitting close to 0 in the scores, or just getting low scores across the board, it can be just as important to begin wondering if people are actively dissuading their friends or colleagues from joining the company or the team, or from using the product. You may want to try asking the the inverse question, “How likely is it that you would actively discourage a friend or colleague from our company/product/service?”. This is super scary stuff for most organisations but finding out how your team feels sooner is much better than having them all quit on you.

Net Promoter Score is a simple measure to use to measure pride and morale in your product, team and company. Try it out and let me know what you think.